With no electricity supply, businesses in Phuentsholing town’s core area were adversely affected yesterday and the day before.

A problem with the transformer at the Bhutan Power Corporation’s (BPC) substation that supplies power to the core area caused power disruption since the morning of August 5.

Around 9am yesterday, the power blacked out and supply resumed by mid-day only. It again blacked out around 2pm.

The power supply resumed at 5:20pm in the evening but it went off again around 7:30pm.

On Sunday, the power supply was cut at 8:30am and it was supplied at 11:30pm. However, some parts of the core area were unaffected.

Hotels and restaurants were most affected without power supply.

Waiting desperately for the power supply to resume, the Upstairs Kitchen’s owner, Dorji Gyeltshen, said vegetables got damaged in the last two days. “I had to store the meat in another building where there is power supply.”

The restaurant owner also said there was no customer without electricity supply. He was also worried about dinner pre-orders.

A manager at Everest Hotel said room bookings dropped on August 5.

“There was no electricity the whole day,” he said, explaining the hotel would on a regular basis still sell 14 to 15 rooms. “Our system is also down.”

Businesses such as printing shops and internet cafes were also affected.

The owner of an ICT shop, which also does printing and photo works, Manzil Lama, said two days were wasted in waiting for electricity.

“A lot of customers had come to take print outs and passport photos,” he said.

A BPC official in Phuentsholing, Sonam Tshering, said the 1,000kv transformer had ceased to function at a substation near BPC billing office since August 5.

“We have replaced the transformer with two transformers, a 500kv and another 400kv,” he said, adding these two transformers were old ones brought from Pasakha.

However, the problem still exists with the reduced version transformer, as it was unable to take the load. Meanwhile, BPC also doesn’t have any stock of 1,000kv transformer in its office.

Sonam Tshering said the current replacement is a “temporary measure” and that BPC is working towards solving the problem permanently.

Meanwhile, a hotelier, Pema, said BPC should have a transformer as backup. “This is a lack of management. BPC should be prepared for such situations.”

He said Phuentsholing is the country’s largest commercial hub and continuous power supply is a necessity.

He also said that BPC should install a higher capacity transformer than the previous one. “It is useless to replace with a lower capacity transformer.”

Rajesh Rai | Phuentsholing