Rundown transformers worsen power crisis
Frequent loadshedding apart, the overall operation of Chittagong PDB has greatly been hampered because of rundown transformers for long.
The Power Development Board (PDB), Chittagong Southern Zone has 3,300 transformers to cater to the power needs of over five lakh consumers under its zone that consists of 17 divisions, including 10 in metropolitan area.
Of this, Chittagong metro alone has around 3.32 lakh consumers.
Around 60 percent of the transformers were repaired many times while 50 percent are overloaded leading to their vulnerability to collapse any time, according to available data.
In recent months, transformers under Bakalia, Patharghata, Stadium, Khulshi, Agrabad, Halishahar, Sholoshahar and Jalalabad divisions have collapsed many a times, worsening the power crisis in those dense city areas.
In November, an age-old transformer at Abdul Latif Road in West Bakalia suddenly tripped forcing the area into dark. It took engineers seven days to repair the transformer and restore power supply there after unbearable sufferings of the locals for those days.
Unlike Abdul Latif Road area, people of Khwaja Road in Chandgaon didn't have that sort of patience for unavailability of power for only three days in the same month. They got enraged after living three days in complete dark and then went to the Bakalia division office with procession to lodge their protest against power outage. They agitated there for a while. The authorities, however, managed to restore power supply in the area in five days after repairing the damaged transformer.
“Sudden collapse of transformer has become a regular phenomenon in my ward and elsewhere alongside frequent load-shedding. Being a densely populated, my ward is the worst sufferer of power crisis for long,” Shahidul Alam, ward councilor of West Bakalia, said.
Residents of CDA Colony area under Agrabad division were not far behind in terms of sufferings due to rundown transformer.
“I have been residing in this area for 15 years and I just can't count how many times the transformer went out of order,” Mainul Haque, senior executive of Shipping Company at Agrabad, said.
Sources said engineers and staffs of different divisions are struggling hard to cope with the situation. In case a transformer goes dysfunctional, it usually takes a week or more to repair.
“A 250 KVA transformer can take load up to 350amps whereas most of such transformers are now taking load over 400amps on an average. Such overload is actually reducing the strength of the transformer, let alone its vulnerability,” Mrinal Kanti Roy, executive engineer of Bakalia division, told this correspondent explaining the negative impact of overloaded transformer.
PDB Chief Engineer Sujit Chakma also admitted the crisis owing to ramshackle transformers.
“We need to increase brand new transformers replacing the older ones in all our divisions especially Chittagong Metro area to get rid of the problem,” he said, adding that they already have placed procurement requisition to the ministry concerned.