Managing the Rolling Blackout

Dr. Asangba Tzüdir


Power Blackout is holding people to ransom; a more organized load-shedding is required


If the fire had engulfed all the transformers in the recent incident, one may wonder what the government and the power department would have done. The mind can only flash the worst scenario possible in the aftermath, for it would take something more than a wildest imagination to think about a timely replacement action by the required 100 Mva transformer in the sub-station in case of such eventuality.


Since then, the city of Dimapur, especially, has been a witness to frequent load shedding and the irony is that, even with such amount of load shedding, another transformer has malfunctioned, though the load shedding is being done primarily to prevent the breakdown of the system. It is reported that the problem leading to the malfunction will be known only after inspection, but for sure, it is a case of demand straining the capacity of the transformer.


Also known as rolling blackout, this intentionally engineered electrical power shutdown where electricity delivery is stopped is a last resort measure to avoid a total breakdown of the power system. The cause of a rolling blackout arises from insufficient generation capacity or inadequate transmission infrastructure to deliver sufficient power. The ongoing load shedding is a resultant of both the causes.


It is hardly any consolation that rolling blackouts are a common or a normal daily event even in many developing countries where electricity generation capacity is underfunded or infrastructure is poorly managed. But in the context of the state, ‘underfunding’ or infrastructure being inadequate besides poorly managed is a ‘self-created’ problem.


Times are desperate so also the measures, where, the transmission frequency has really gone down below safe-limit. But the irony is, the government is only seeking the co-operation, support and patience of the people. The real test of patience lies in being tested in an uncertain pretext which is exactly the case. But the current situation and the quick fix approach doesn’t call for people’s patience, unless under certain ‘trust worthy assurance.’


In a situation of ‘helplessness’ and with news of a new transformer nowhere near, the state is heading towards a “winter of discontent.” The question is, how long will this load shedding go on. The situation far from being normal and the only option left seems to be this load shedding.


The least that can be done in the current situation is for a more calculated and organised modus operandi of load shedding. The power department should also ensure that blackouts are scheduled in advance and informed properly to let people work and manage around them.


It has been a long felt recognition that basic infrastructure like transformer needs to be updated, and in a situation where the government is only seeking co-operation and patience without any assurance, the department can at least do a better job of load shedding distribution in order to win the patience and trust of the people.


(Dr. Asangba Tzudir contributes a weekly guest editorial to The Morung Express. Comments can be mailed to