During the question hour session on Friday, the MP from Sombaykha, Dorjee Wangmo questioned the government on massive power fluctuations in Sombaykha and Gakiling gewogs in Haa.
The MP said that as per Bhutan Living Standard Survey Report 2017, it was reported that electricity coverage in the country is 99 per cent but despite that it was reported that there has been massive power fluctuation in two gewogs which has resulted into numerous problems for the people.
She said, “During summer there is massive power fluctuation due to which works relying on electricity are hampered badly. Moreover, it creates inconveniences in carrying out official tasks in the office. It is often found out that these 2 gewogs remain without electricity for as long as 10 days.” She asked the Economic Affairs minister to provide measures to overcome this challenge.
Lyonpo, Loknath Sharma said, “Sombaykha and Gakiling are fed from 220/66/33 kV Dhamdhum substation via Dorokha through a 33 kV line. The line was constructed through the rural electrification program under JICA funding and was commissioned in 2016. The line is over 180 km in length with numerous tapping on the way to Sombaykha and Gakiling.”
Lyonpo said, “Due to long length and numerous tapping, any fault at any point along the line leads to blackout of Sombaykha and Gakiling area and locating the fault on such a long line takes more time.” He said that the road between Dorokha and Sombaykha is new and gets frequently blocked during monsoons. Therefore, whenever there is a supply interruption, it takes more time to reach the fault location and restore the supply.
Also, the road between Haa and Sombaykha is frequently blocked in winter due to snow and ice. In such cases, the crew needs to travel to Sombaykha via Phuentsholing or Dorokha and that takes more time to restore supply.
Lyonpo informed the house that though the line coordinator is maintained as per the standard and right of way is cleared periodically, the vegetation along the entry line route especially in Samtse and Dorokha grows very fast creating faults on the line thereby creating interruption of the line.
Storms and continuous heavy rainfall during the monsoon causes landslides and uprooting of trees which damages the lines causing interruption of supply.
Lyonpo said the installation of Isolator or switches for isolating faulty sections and restoring the supplies to the healthy sections of the line is ongoing and will be completed by the end of 2019.
“The frequency of clearing of the bushes and trimming of tree branches along the line to avoid contact with the line which causes frequent tripping has been increased. A feasibility study to interconnect 33kV line between Balamna under Samar geowg and Gakiling is being carried out and will be completed by 2019. This interconnection will have to supply power to Gakiling and Sombaykha from 66 by 33kV substation at Dorithasa”, Lyonpo said.
“Also, a techno commercial feasibility study to construct and integrated 66kV ring connecting Paro, Ha and Samtse via the proposed Dorithasa substation to improve the overall supply reliability in Haa and Paro is being carried out. This would require extension of 66kV line from the proposed Dorithasa substation to Ha and interconnecting Ha and Paro by the 66kV tie line,” he added.