KOLKATA: All power distribution boxes in localities prone to waterlogging will be made smart to send out automated alerts when water level rises beyond the safe mark so that they can be switched off to prevent electrocution incidents.
“Proximity sensors are being installed in distribution boxes that are located in neighbourhoods that get inundated. When the water level rises, it will trigger an alert to the customer relationship management (CRM) system and LT control room. The CRM system will send out SMS to consumers serviced by the distribution box to inform them that supply will be switched off for their safety. And the alert to the control room will enable engineers to ask the mobile field teams to switch off the supply within minutes,” explained CESC managing director (distribution) Debasish Banerjee.

Around 150 distribution boxes have been identified in vulnerable localities. Of these, sensors have been installed in over 50 boxes while the rest will be fitted with the sensors by this year-end.
Among the localities where sensors have been installed include Muktaram Babu Street, Amherst Street, Lansdowne Road and Kidderpore. Among other areas where the boxes will be made smart include Ekbalpore, Mominpore, Alimuddin Street, College Street and Park Circus.
A few years ago, the utility had surveyed distribution boxes during the monsoon and raised the height of several of them to prevent them from getting inundated. However, intensity of rain has increased and there have been instances of cloud burst, which, coupled with high tide, has pushed the water level higher this year.
Till now, CESC was dependent on complaints from consumers or alerts from police or the administration to act when water level increased during a downpour. However, this system wasn’t foolproof as some bylanes or alleys could get overlooked, particularly during latenight showers.
“The sensors will again issue an alert when the water level recedes so that power can be switched on,” CESC vice-president (LT distribution) Avijit Ghosh said.
There have also been several instances of electrocution in the city. While not all of them are related to the CESC service points, officials at the utility said they will try to ensure that no one is harmed.