Over 1 million customers lose power supply as Amphan hits BD coast

21 May 2020 bdnews24.com

As Cyclone Amphan slammed into the coasts of Bangladesh, fierce wind gusts and rains snapped power supply, plunging much of the coastal zone into darkness on Wednesday evening.
More than one million consumers in at least 17 associations of the Rural Electrification Board or REB have lost electricity.
Apart from this, almost 40,000 customers of West Zone Power Distribution Company Ltd or WZPDCL have been left with no electricity supply.
Around 50 to 60 percent connections were cut accounting for an estimated one to 1.2 million customers without power in 17 associations including Patuakhali, Bhola, parts of Bridal, Bagerhaat, Pirojpur and Satkhira, Anjan Kanti Das, member of programme and planning of REB said around 7:30pm.
The cyclone started crossing the Bangladesh coast around 5pm on Wednesday packing a wind speed of around 160 to 180kph rising to 200kph within 80km of its centre, meteorologist Abdul Mannan told bdnews24.com.
The power distribution companies said they were ready to begin restoration by Thursday afternoon once the storm dies down.

Pointing out that the distributors had nothing to do the cuts, he said, "Large trees fell down in some places, while the cables snapped in some. The storms and rains are continuing with strong winds. We are yet to assess the scale of damage."

"But the damage may not be as severe as Bulbul," Anjan added, drawing comparison with the devastations caused by the severe cyclonic storm last year.

"It seems the cyclone is getting weaker. Whatever the damage, we will fix it by tomorrow afternoon."

Executive Director Abul Hasan of WZPDCL Engineering Division confirmed the power cuts saying among every eight 33 KV customers, six have lost power by the afternoon.

About 40,000 customers of Alamdanga, Meherpur, Barguna, Payra and Char Fasson were disconnected from the power supply, he said. The ministry provided clear instructions that 'lives must be saved first', restoration comes later.

Meteorologists said the impact of the cyclone might be felt more intensely in areas stretching from Satkhira, the southwest of the country, towards Khulna, Bagerhaat, Pirojepur, Jhalakathi, Barguna, Patuakhali, Bhola, Noakhali, Lakhmipur, Feni and Chattogram.

Power Distribution Board Chairman Belayet Hossain told bdnews24.com on Wednesday afternoon the associations in Khulna, Bagerhat and the Sundarbans remained alert to the dangers and the aftermath, but he hoped that the impact would not be as much as initially feared.

He said areas with PDB distribution centres should be safe, but the cyclone may cause some damage if it sweeps over Bagerhat where they have sent their more experienced engineers.

REB Chairman Maj Gen Moin Uddin told bdnews24.com that REB held a video conference with 500 employees and provided instructions. He added that REB would suffer damages if the cyclone hits Cumilla, Noakhali or Chattogram.

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