The community is now waiting for other parts of the plant to be delivered for power to be restored 

Update: Power outage in over 100 households in the three villages of Tangsibji, Trongsa is likely to continue, as its micro hydropower project is yet to function even after replacing the turbine bearing.

The three villages that source power from the mini hydle are Chendebji, Nyala and Drangla.

The country’s first clean development mechanism project broke down after the bearing in its turbine was damaged from suspected malfunction of revolutions per minute (RPM). The project was shut down since June 4 leaving the nearby villages in over a month long blackout.

“We had to shut down the plant after its RPM exceeded its limit of 1,030 by 470,” project operator Pema Namgye said.

Last week, the gewog administration through the department of energy (DoE) had bought a pair of bearings worth Nu 79,806.25 to replace the damaged part. The turbine bearing was delivered last week from Nepal.

“The bearing was replaced few days ago but the plant isn’t working yet,” Tangsibji gup, Jigme Namgyal said, adding that experts from Bhutan Power Corporation (BPC) found just last week that more parts needed replacement.

Operator Pema Namgye said the project couldn’t be reinstated because of a major damage of its dummy load and RPM. The rust, he said, has damaged the dummy load, which stores the excess power load. The rectangular steel container of the dummy load has also been damaged from rust.

“All 15 heaters in dummy load have been completely damaged,” he said, adding that the project had to be shut down since running it with damaged dummy load risked damaging the generator and turbine bearing.

While BPC has assured the community to replace the rectangular steel container, which can be made in its workshop in Begana, the heaters however would either need to be imported from Siliguri in India or Nepal.

Jigme Namgyal said that the department of energy (DoE) has already placed the orders for the heaters from Nepal.

“How soon the power will be restored will depend on how early the heaters are delivered,” he said.

The cost of the heater is yet to be confirmed. Meanwhile, the community has already initiated talks with DoE to surrender the plant to BPC following its frequent breakdowns and difficulty in absence of technical experts to restore the project immediately.

“I will be travelling to Thimphu to talk with the new BPC managing director about it soon,” Jigme Namgyal said.

Until the arrival of the heater, all government offices, school and business entities would remain without power supply since Chendebji is neither connected to the national grid nor has an alternative substation to supplement the power.

By Tempa Wangdi, Trongsa