Preliminary work undertaken by the Kerala State Electricity Board (KSEB) much before administrative sanction was accorded to the total electrification project was key to how the whole project went about with great precision once it started working on the ground, says KSEB chairman and managing director K. Ellangovan.
Speaking to The Hindu at his office inside Vydyuthi Bhavanam at Pattom in Thiruvananthapuram, he said that rarely have so many departments worked together seamlessly to achieve a goal in such a short period of time.
“As soon as the project was announced, we identified the procedural issues and the administrative needs. The success of the programme is the fantastic base work in reaching out to the various departments to clear the bottlenecks and to seek financial aid. It was a conscious effort as we were sure that unless these bottlenecks were addressed first, the project will not take off even if given administrative sanction,” he says.
Mr. Ellangovan says that a strategic decision was taken to make people more involved in the process, so that the machinery becomes more responsive. “We got the MLAs and other people’s representatives involved in the process, tapping their knowledge of the areas and their funds for the project. Their involvement was also important in estimating the correct number of connections,” he says.
The KSEB, he notes, had to address the issues relating to solar panels in the few hundreds of houses in which they had to opt for it, due to practical difficulties. “The solar panels we had given earlier had fallen into disuse, as they need constant maintenance and cleaning. There is a general apathy towards solar power due to these issues. We have made a change in the tender norms now, with a ten-year maintenance contract, including one battery change. We are also looking at the Arunachal Pradesh model, where they have given 300 watts solar panels, which would give people enough power to run a lot of appliances,” says Mr. Ellangovan.
For the KSEB, the next ambitious initiative is Transgrid 2.0, to upgrade the entire transmission network by 2023. The KSEB is ready with the tender documents now. “Currently, we have a power holding capacity of up to 2,900 MW. With Transgrid, this will be increased to 6,000 MW. Our conductors are all old and have high sagging index, unsuitable for a densely populated State. With the new conductors, the transmission losses will also be reduced. All the lines and substations will be upgraded. As right of way is a problem, we will use the existing way by changing the tower design, to carry the higher power conductors. There will also be a green corridor to tap wind and solar energy. By 2021, we will have a fantastic grid. The idea is to eventually have a smart grid,” he says.
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