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Expert Panel to identify loopholes in power infrastructure caused by cyclone Phailin

According to reports, with the cyclone Phailin causing extensive damage to power infrastructure in several districts, the State Government on Thursday decided to set up an expert committee to find out the reasons of large scale destruction of electrical equipment, mainly the extra high tension transmission towers.

“We have decided to set up a committee to find out the reason behind the uprooting of transmission towers. Transmission experts from Central Electricity Authority, Power Grid Corporation of India Limited and retired electrical engineers will make an on the spot study and examine the structural designs of the towers to know the shortcomings,” Energy Secretary PK Jena said.

The objective of such a study is to further improve the structural design of towers which could withstand more wind velocity during cyclonic storms, he added.

The study by an expert committee was felt necessary as the cyclonic storm twisted a large number of high tension towers in a particular section. The committee will suggest measures to rectify defects in the structural design, if any, and recommend new models.

Official sources said Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, who reviewed the power sector restoration on Wednesday, expressed surprise over uprooting of Extra High Tension (EHT) towers in large number. The EHT towers are supposed to sustain wind speed upto 180 kmph with safety measures upto 270 kmph.

However, this time the wind speed of Phailin was upto 220 kmph. Therefore, it was expected that the EHT towers should not have been affected in the cyclone having wind speed of less than 250 kmph, they said.

While 93 EHT towers were affected this time, 22 towers had been damaged in the super cyclone in 1999 when wind speed was between 250 kmph and 300 kmph. Of the damaged EHT towers, 28 require complete replacement.

The State owned Odisha Power Transmission Corporation Limited (OPTCL) had executed installation of EHT towers across the state. The incessant rain that is lashing most parts of the State for the last four days has further delayed the restoration works in Ganjam and Puri districts.

Of 83,000 consumers of Berhampur town, power supply has been restored to about 45,000 consumers. Despite the torrential rain, skilled labourers of Southco were trying hard to restore power supply to Rangeilunda and Gopalpur, Jena said after a two-day tour to Ganjam district.

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