No instant solution to Zhemgang’s power woes 

Nima

All homes in Zhemgang would be connected with electricity with the works to connect the last 300 homes ongoing in the dzongkhag currently. 

The dzongkhag is plagued by frequent power cutoff which worsens during the monsoon.

Nangkor gewog gup, Dorji Wangchuk said that people complained about their electrical appliances getting damaged because of power fluctuations happening almost every day.

“This was discussed at dzongkhag tshogdu for a number of times. It’s difficult to understand what’s actually wrong with the power supply. There is no improvement,” he said.

The gup added that the power cutoff happens even during winter when the weather is better compared to the stormy and windy weather in summer.

To ensure uninterrupted power supply, Bhutan Power Corporation Limited office in Zhemgang clears trees that disrupt transmission line.

The work is given on contract which takes more time as there are only a few people deployed for the clearing, according to Dorji Wangchuk.

“If it’s done by the gewog, it’s much faster. We proposed that but it was not implemented,” he said.

Forest clearing on contract takes almost four months while the community does it in two weeks, the gup said.

Nangkor was electrified in 2003 but power fluctuations started after the transmission line was extended from the gewog to two other gewogs of Shingkhar and Bardo in 2013.

The gup said that an additional substation in the gewog would improve power supply and reduce frequent power cutoff. “When the power lines are disrupted in the other two gewogs, we lose power too. The substation would probably solve this,” said the gup.

There is only one main substation at Tingtibi.

Chief divisional manager with BPC, Tsenga Dorji, said that it was challenging to ensure reliable power supply because most of the transmission lines pass through dense forest and tough terrain.

“The transmission lines are lengthy. Shorter transmission lines would be more reliable,” he said. “Almost 90 percent of the dzongkhag is under forest coverage.”

He added that the transmission lines travel more than 140km from the substation in Tingtibi to the lower and upper parts of Kheng. Upper Kheng enjoys a more reliable power supply comparatively.

Constructing a substation at Gomphu would help make power supply reliable in lower Kheng and Panbang, according to the official. “We are trying our best to provide a reliable power supply,” said Tsenga Dorji.

BPC in collaboration with the gewog administration is engaged in the clearing of forest to ensure undisturbed power supply in the dzongkhag.

Zhemgang is almost 100 percent electrified and the works are underway to provide electricity for 324 households that are off-grid.

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