The fire accident at one of the units of the 150-MW hydel power station at Srisailam on Friday was reportedly due to a short-circuit in a panel but senior officials insisted they would arrive at a conclusion only after knowing the exact cause.

Meanwhile, the State government has directed the chairman and MD of State power generation corporation to constitute a committee to inquire into the incident and submit a report.

Officials attributed the inability to check the fire fast as the power station was underground.

For the last 11 years, power generation at the 900 MW (150×6) station of the generation corporation had gone uninterrupted even during the flood season until now. It was in 2009 that the power houses on left and right canals, carrying water to Telangana and Andhra Pradesh respectively, were damaged due to heavy floods in river Krishna.

The Srisailam power house is the biggest of the 11 stations of TS power generation corporation with a capacity to generate 20 million units per day. The installed capacity of the corporation was 2,441.8 MW, of which Srisailam alone accounted for 900 MW. The generation at other stations ranged from four to nine million units as most of them were not operational on a continuous basis.

The generation cost for each unit was fixed at ₹5, which effectively meant that the corporation will suffer a loss of ₹10 crore on account of the closure of the station now.

The station was blessed with reversible hydro power turbines to generate power and release water to Nagarjunasagar during peak load time. During slack time, additional power in the grid was used to pump water back to Srisailam from Nagarjunasagar.

The accident took place at a time when Srisailam reservoir was filled to its capacity and the power generation was taken up at peak load factor. The staff initially tried to douse the fire in the panel board with the help of portable fire extinguishers but in vain.

As the power generation in the left bank power house came to a halt, the authorities of Srisailam dam increased the spillway discharge of flood to over 4.29 lakh cusecs by lifting ten gates to a height of 18 ft each. Another 30,000 cusecs is also being let into the river with power generation from the right canal under the control of AP government.

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