By Dechen Dolkar

CHUKHA — Industries in Pasakha, Chukha, have been experiencing frequent power outages, disrupting their operations for more than three months.

According to the Association of Bhutanese Industries (ABI), power outages have never happened before, and this was the first time that the 41 industries have been experiencing.

The General Secretary of ABI, Pema Namgyel, said that the persistent power disruptions have significantly hampered their productivity. In recent months, they have experienced recurring power failures originating from the Bhutan Power Corporation Limited (BPC), which have resulted in unplanned shutdowns of factories.

“This has caused substantial financial losses to the industries involved,” said the General Secretary, adding that in June there was a major disruption.

The association said that companies like steel industries had a major impact since they require a 24-hour power supply to operate.

“They need to heat the furnace, which requires it to maintain continuous heat. He said that when the furnace is re-started, it takes time and incurs losses.”

The General Secretary said that from June 7 to 10, the industries had to fully shut down, though there was prior notice from BPC. From June 11 so far, there were around 10 to 12 hours of shutdown, with industries bearing the losses.

He said that due to frequent power outages, the oxygen cylinder plant was destroyed and had to shut down. “Now industries have to import oxygen from India.”

The General Secretary said that the industries in Pasakha are crucial drivers of the economy, providing employment opportunities and making significant contributions to overall growth and development.

However, he said that the recurring power disruptions outlined above have posed severe challenges to industries’ operations.

“These frequent power outages not only lead to substantial financial losses for the industries but also disrupt production schedules, affect product quality, and have a cascading effect on the entire supply chain, including suppliers, distributors, and ultimately the consumers,” he said.

BPC Response

BPC responded that due to the extreme weather conditions, their infrastructure has been significantly impacted, resulting in service disruptions for the industries in the Pasakha Industrial Estate.

BPC mentioned that their dedicated team has been working continuously to assess the damage and carry out repair work to restore the services.

“We have mobilised additional resources to expedite the restoration process. Our team has been working tirelessly until late at night, and wherever possible, the power is supplied to the industries during nighttime until the resumption of the restoration works the next day,” BPC said.

The official from BPC said that their team is facing tremendous challenges due to the extensive nature of the damage and complexities of the restoration efforts coupled with the incessant rain. These are causing delays in the restoration efforts.

ABI decided to conduct an assessment of the impact of power disruptions, and they will submit the report to relevant authorities.