Power shutdown in Trongsa, Bumthang affects commuters

Electricity: Hundreds of vehicles queued at the Bhutan Oil Corporation (BOC) in Trongsa to fuel since Saturday morning in absence of electricity to run the pumps.

The BOC neither had manual pumps nor a generator leaving drivers frustrated and helpless.

Bhutan Power Corporation (BPC) had shut down the power in Trongsa and Bumthang since 8am last Friday to carry out maintenance work at Koshala in Trongsa. It was restored at 9:30pm on Friday but went off again from Saturday morning as maintenance works were scheduled till 6pm yesterday.

Among the vehicles were also passenger buses that came to Trongsa, as they could not fuel in Bumthang since there was no electricity yesterday. Two tankers carrying diesel and petrol arrived in Trongsa at around 1pm. The BOC then managed to fuel the vehicles by using measuring cans and taking fuel directly from the tanker only after which the vehicles could move towards their respective destinations.

On Saturday, people waited till 11pm in their cars or sat near BOC expecting electricity anytime.

They expected the electricity at 6pm, 8pm, 9pm and 10pm as told by BPC officials over phone when people inquired.

People, who were waiting to fuel up their cars at the BOC said it was difficult without electricity throughout the day and night.

A Trongsa resident said that he was supposed to move to Zhemgang on Saturday but was stranded as his vehicle ran out of fuel. He waited from the morning till 11pm on Saturday after he was informed that there would be no electricity that night.

He said the BOC should also have a manual pump or a generator as back up during such situations. “They can’t keep the people stranded in such situation,” he said, adding that there may be some people travelling for important work.

Some drivers suggested taking fuel out of the reservoir manually and pouring it into the cars while others requested for fuel that was kept for emergency purposes.

BOC officials in Trongsa said they did not have a generator while the manual pump was out of service.

However, there was still no electricity in Trongsa and Bumthang as of 8pm yesterday.

Nima Wangdi |Trongsa

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