GUWAHATI, July 12 - Reacting to the recent spate in electrocution-related incidents in the State and the subsequent uproar, the Association of Engineers, ASEB (AEA), has laid stress on underground power distribution system to minimise power interruptions and electrical accidents.
It also called for creation of new electrical sub-divisions of the Assam Power Distribution Company Ltd (APDCL) and one electrical circle for every district to facilitate better service to the consumers along with better electrical safety, considering the growing number of electricity consumers.
The association rued that around 30 APDCL sub-divisions are running without sub-divisional officers, while at the technical level, the need-based requirement of linemen and sahayaks (technicians) has crossed the number of 1,000.
The APDCL should also look into the matter of training its recent recruits and the technicians of the contractors in electrical safety and workmanship, it said, adding, the State government should look into the issue of acute shortage of manpower at the field level in APDCL and recruit new engineering graduates, diploma holders and ITI-certified technicians, it said.
In a statement here today, the association has also called for installation of the guarding mesh below the high voltage 11 kV and low voltage electric lines, wherever possible, and, to cover the bare aluminium/aluminium alloy conductors to insulated cables, wherever power lines are crossing the public roads, to prevent sagging of the power lines.
Also, the turnkey contractors engaged in the Restructured Accelerated Power Development and Reforms Programme (RADRP) should be instructed to immediately charge the Aerial Bunched Cables (ABC) which they have installed already in Guwahati and other urban areas, it said.
It further said all existing overhead low voltage lines, whether bare conductor or ABC, should be protected by Moulded Case Circuit Breakers (MCCB). No transformer, whether located in urban areas or in rural areas, should be kept in energised condition unless the outgoing lines are protected by the MCCB to prevent electrical accidents.
It reasoned that these protective devices are much more effective in cutting off power supply than the fuse wire and cut-out system, though these devices cannot be equated with the High Voltage Circuit Breakers in this respect.
The association also called for installation of thermal cameras to detect hot spots which can provide early warning before snapping of lines.
In the urban areas, High Voltage Distribution System (HVDS) can be introduced. This system instantaneously trips and stops the flow of electric current when a line falls on the ground, the association said. However, it added that this system is economically not viable for Assam’s rural areas, which have scattered households.
It maintained that ensuring electrical safety is becoming a major challenge in the State these days because of the rapid extension of rural electricity network, artificial floods and waterlogging due to unplanned growth of cities and towns. This has necessitated swift flow of information from the public to the APDCL authorities.
Moreover, streamlining of the affairs and duties and responsibilities of the office of the Chief Electrical Inspector, which is under the State power department, is also necessary in this respect.
Earlier, the Electrical Inspectorate acted as the third party inspectors of electrical safety. But now the Electrical Inspectorate has been restricted to authorise charging of privately-owned transformers in housing societies, commercial complexes and government buildings and other mundane works. There are allegations that it issues electrical licences to persons whose shoddy works lead to many electrical accidents.