Sherab Lhamo and Suraj Gurung | Intern

As the monsoon arrived this month, bringing heavy rain and landslides, many places across the country reported frequent cases of erratic power supply. 

In a week, Bhutan Power Corporation (BPC) reported 20 cases of power outages in different parts of the country, and this has become challenging for the office. 

BPS’s General Manager of Distribution and Customer Services Division Karma Chhopel said that it was difficult to maintain power lines due to the geographical landscape. It takes three to four days to repair the power lines. 

The struggle is more in the South, the manager said, adding that the office has to carry out the maintenance works thrice a year in the south compared with one-off maintenance a year in other places. 

He said that since last year, BPC started installing Distribution Automation (DA) that helps detect faults, feeder switching, and outage management. The system detects faults quickly in a short period of time. 

“We installed DAs in about 13 dzongkhags last year and we are going to cover the whole of 20 dzongkhags this year,” Karma Chhopel said. 

In the past if there was fault in one end, it would affect the whole line. But now, if the faults are detected, the DA’s sectionalizers will disconnect, preventing short circuits. BPC had installed 72 sectionalizers till date. The office spent Nu 77 million to install the DA. 

The general manager said that developmental works also hamper steady power supply. For example, recently, a road construction in Chudzom damaged a tower that was connecting four major towns in Paro and Haa. “People do not inform us when they are carrying out such excavation works,” he added. 

Maintaining continued power supply in monsoon, continues to be a major hurdle, however.