ABB returns power to Kerala district after floods take out generator

ABB rapidly repaired the generator at Kuthungal Hydro Electric Plant, returning power to over a million people in the Idukki district of Kerala after India’s southwestern province suffered the worst floods in a century.

Severe floods in August halted three power plants in Kerala’s Idukki district, including the Kuthungal Hydro Electric Power Plant. Kuthungal is equipped with an ABB hydro-generator that had been under nearly five feet of water for almost a week.

R. Daivasikamani, Service Engineer, Motors and Generators(RMMG) LBU, Robotics and Motion division testing the generator.
R. Daivasikamani, Service Engineer, Motors and Generators(RMMG) LBU, Robotics and Motion division testing the generator.

The Kuthungal plant produces 21MW of electricity for the district and serves more than a million people. Plant officials asked ABB’s service team to help it get back online. Although the generator had been under water for about a week, the entire plant had been shut down for two weeks after the Kerala State Electricity Board (KSEB) switched off supply for safety reasons.

  Kuthungal Hydro Electric Power Plant in Kerala’s Idukki district.
Kuthungal Hydro Electric Power Plant in Kerala’s Idukki district.

R. Daivasikamani, Service Engineer, Motors and Generators (RMMG) LBU, Robotics and Motors division, ABB in India described the journey to the plant in the flood zone: “We managed to reach Cochin early, taking the first flight from Bengaluru but covering the remaining 100 kilometers to Kuthungal took us the longest time. All the roads and highways were blocked due to landslides. The rescue teams were still clearing the roads and we waited hours for them to clear one lane for the vehicles to pass.”

On arrival at the plant, the ABB team thoroughly cleaned and dried the generator to improve the machine’s Insulation Resistance (IR) to an acceptable level. They managed to do this quickly despite the power shortage.

“Within two days all the operating parameters were normal, and the generator was ready to build up the voltage,” said Daivasikamani. The KSEB announced that the Kuthungal power plant in the Idukki district was the first plant to function after the disaster.

Assisting the Kunthugal power plant to get up and running was a milestone, ensuring uninterrupted power to a community dealing with the aftermath of the disaster.

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