Ever wondered why there is a power outage in the bad weather? Well, this happens less often in the US or the UK or Europe. But in many developing countries, this is very common. Whenever there is rain, there comes a power cut.
This issue is so problematic in some areas, that this often leads to heated arguments and outrage against the employees of a power utility company. Customer’s main priority is a quality power supply.
How power reaches our home
Usually, electricity generated at the Conventional power generation plant (like Thermal, Hydro, or Nuclear energy plant), a Windpower plant, or a Solar power generation park. From there it is transmitted to a transmission line.
Through this transmission line, electric power reaches our area. Here it is stepped down to a low voltage level so it can be used at our home. It is distributed to our home by means of distribution lines.
As we can see most of the transmission lines are of the overhead type. And that makes it prone to environmental disturbances.
Overhead lineAn overhead line is an electric power line where electric power is transferred or distributed by means of conductors which are suspended overhead on a Pole or similar kind of structure called power utility Tower.
Now from transmission lines to distribution lines again electric power flows through a line to utility area. Again these lines are mostly overhead types.
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Thus electric power mostly travels through an overhead open line and then reaches consumers.
What happens in bad weather?
In bad weather heavy wind is experienced with rain and thunderstorms. Most transmission lines run over big large transmission towers that have a risk of lightning strokes. Although protection is provided, no protection is big enough that sustains the power of mother nature.
When transmission lines are disturbed, the whole area or region gets affected. This results in a power outage due to bad weather.
Distribution power lines usually run on a utility pole. In rain due to windy situations often nearby trees fall on to these lines and that damages lines. This results in a power outage as restoration works usually take time in bad weather.
Now I think that you understand the nature of issues faced by power company employees during monsoon.
Ironically in most of the developing countries, power distribution lines are of an open type. These lines pass through the densely populated area.
This also induces more problems than other areas due to densely populated areas. Distribution line maintenance is somewhat tough and challenging in these areas.
In developing countries, power utilities are mostly government-owned.
In most developing countries, the government has their own political agenda which prefer “Quantity is preferred against Quality.”
Often employees are overburdened with the workload. and due to this quality of power supply often comes second.
Most of the employees are not having proper safety tools and training.
In India, the most power utility company has thousands of kilometres long lines which are maintained by a few employees.
If you consider a rural area, a power utility lineman often handles more than 10 villages. Which includes an average 30 Km of HT line and equally long LT line.
Now imagine one man has to cover all these areas with and still asking for quality power supply is not appropriate in my sense.
Most of the Distribution feeders do have an average length of 25 Km and these lines cover many villages.
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Due to the nature of the electric power supply, any disturbance at one of the pole or span, likely to disturb the whole line and villages or areas fed by that particular line is suffered.
Mostly distribution feeders have common faults such as insulator failure or tree branch has fallen online.
As a lineman, it is a daunting task to cover these faults and restore power as at most in villages these people work day and night.
Therefore, it is obvious that in rainy season power complaints are resolved with considerable time and effort by the lineman.
But before making any assumption or prejudice do think the situation in which lineman is working and the nature of electric power.
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In this business, a little error or mistake often leads to loss of life.
Thus it takes a considerable amount of time and manpower to produce electric power. From the power station to your home there is a vast network of lines and transformers.
Any disturbances at any point of network whether it is the natural disaster or human error bound to affect all or part of the electrical network and its consumers.
All is required is a patience.