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Seven years after its inception, the Kerala State Electricity Board’s (KSEB) ring main project, which envisages automation of power distribution network in Kochi and its suburbs, is likely to be commissioned before the monsoon. Once the project, implemented under the Restructured Accelerated Power Development and Reforms Programme (R-APDRP) is completed, it will ensure minimal disruption to electricity supply. If a substation develops technical snags, electricity will automatically be drawn from the neighbouring station.
So far, around 300km of overhead lines in Kochi and the suburbs have been replaced with underground cables under the project. Last week, officials from the Power Grid Corporation of India conducted inspections in Kochi prior to the commissioning of the project.
“They found all the work completed so far satisfactory. So, we expect that the remaining work can be completed by May-end. The first phase of the project, which involves installation of ring main units and replacement of 11 KV lines with underground cables, will be completed by May-end or first week of June,” said C V Nandan, chief engineer, distribution, KSEB.
Around 900 ring main units (RMUs), which control power supply in different areas, have already been installed.
“Around 25 substations in Kochi Corporation, Tripunithura, Thrikkakara, Eloor, Aluva and Angamaly municipalities and Nedumbassery and Kalady grama panchayats will be connected to the automated network. If power goes out in an area, officials can go to the respective ring main unit and switch the connection from the failed feeder line to another feeder,” a KSEB official said.
“We are setting up a supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) unit in Kalamassery. The work on the unit, which can be termed as the nerve centre of the automated system, is expected to be completed by December. Once the work is over, all the activities under it can be monitored and controlled from the SCADA unit. If there is power disruption in an area, the officials with the respective substation will not have to interfere. Officials at SCADA can detect it and switch over to other feeders,” he said.
Testing of the underground cables along 250km has been completed. “In the first phase, we are replacing only 11KV overhead lines with underground cables. In the next phase, we will convert all the low tension lines also in to underground cables. As of now, we have replaced several low tension lines, which pass through wooded areas, with insulated lines,” the official said.
As per the R-APDRP norms, the Union government will provide Rs 207 crore for the project as grant provided that the transmission losses are brought down. “As of now, the transmission loss in Kochi is 25%. It will have to be brought down to 15% in the next five years. In such a scenario, the fund provided by the Union government will be considered as a grant. If we fail to bring down the losses, the amount will be considered as a soft loan and will have to be repaid,” an official with KSEB said.
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