2 months after SLBHES mishap, Genco gears up to restart units

The first two units are expected to generate power at the end of this flood season

After experiencing difficulties in soot removal and muck cleaning from the Srisailam Left Bank Hydro Electric Station (SLBHES), which witnessed a major fire on August 20 night, the authorities of Telangana State Power Generation Corporation (TS-Genco) are getting ready to restart the first two units in a week’s time.

“If everything goes according to plan, the first two units of the 6×150 megawatt underground hydro-electric station will resume power generation in about a week’s time – the fag end of the flood season to Srisailam. All the major repair or restoration works pertaining to panel board, power supply back-up, lighting and air-conditioning system and restoration of the gas-insulated sub-station in the tunnel have been completed for the revival of the two units and the final checks are going on,” a top executive of the power utility said on Friday.

But for the long delay in soot removal and cleaning exercise, the two units would have been pressed into generation last month itself – during the thick of flood season, the official said admitting the fact that the mishap had caused major financial loss in terms of damage to the power plant as also loss of the low-cost power generation.

“During the July-October period, which is considered the peak flood season, power generation at Srisailam LBHES this year was only 648 million units (MU) as against 1,386 MU last year, with barely one week of generation possible for the period this year, if everything goes well in restarting the first two units,” the official said explaining the loss to the utility in terms of low-cost power generation.

Since the supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) system in Srisailam LBHES is 20 years old, the Genco authorities have also replaced it now, although they were planning for it before the fire mishap itself. The Genco officials further stated that three more units, except unit number four, would be revived over the next three months and the remaining one unit before the commencement of the next flood season.

The sources said they had also weighed the option of replacing all the units but ruled that out to be unwise from the point of economics of working and the condition of the generation units after the fire mishap.

The internal committee that was tasked to probe the fire and recommend measures to prevent recurrence of such mishaps in future is yet to complete its work, the sources said, adding that the team would visit the project one more time next week before finalising its report.

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