Over 22m lose power supply as Cyclone Amphan batters Bangladesh

  • Faysal Atik, bdnews24.com
    Published: 2020-05-21 19:53:14 BdST

Emergency crews are scrambling to restore electricity to regions after Cyclone Amphan caused extensive damage to power transmission and supply lines.

More than 22 million customers, making up almost 60 percent of the country's consumers, were left without electricity as raging winds and heavy rains snapped power supply when the cyclone barrelled into Bangladesh's coasts on Wednesday evening, according to officials.

Power distribution companies began efforts to restore connections in the affected areas on Thursday morning after the storm weakened into a land depression.

However, about 12 million subscribers in the storm-hit areas were still without power as of Thursday afternoon.

Meanwhile, people in Kushtia and Jhenaidah are likely to be without power for a while due to the outbreak of a fire at a grid substation in the region, officials said.

Some parts of the country also witnessed an increase in voltage after power went out in other areas. As a result, supply systems covering these areas were shut down to avoid major accidents, according to the power distribution companies. Most of the power plants have also been shut down.

Although the connections were restored in some of the affected areas, the demand for power did not exceed 4,000 MW as of 1pm Thursday.

There are 36.5 million electricity consumers in the country under six distribution companies. But power supply to over 12 million of these customers were either shut or snapped until Thursday afternoon, bringing consumption down to 2,500 MW from 10,000 MW.

The Bangladesh Rural Electrification Board has about 26.5 million customers in the country, among whom, almost 26 million were without power supply.

The authorities were able to restore the connections of 10 million customers until Thursday afternoon, Anjan Kanti Das, a member of the Bangladesh Rural Electrification Board (Planning and Development), told bdnews24.com.

"Transmission cables have snapped in about 25,000 spots. We've received reports of damage to about 300 poles and the number is growing. The storm also tore down meters of about 40,000 customers.”

The power supply has been completely cut off in Kushtia, Satkhira, Jashore and Patuakhali, according to Rural Electrification Board official. It will take some time to restore electricity in these districts, he added. But electricity supply has returned in Bhola, Barishal, Jhalakathi, Bagerhat and Pirojpur.

The restoration efforts in Kushtia and Jhenaidah have been complicated by the fire at the grid substation in Kushtia, said the official. "I doubt that they'll get their electricity connections back by the evening as two transformers at the grid have been damaged."

Cyclone Amphan started crossing the Bangladesh coast around 5pm on Wednesday packing winds of around 160 to 180 kph rising to 200kph within 80km of its centre, according to the Met Office.

The storm left a trail of destruction in its wake, killing at least 12 people and causing extensive to damage to large tracts of land and property in seven coastal districts of the country.