The discoms in Delhi city estimate that putting the entire high tension overhead power network in the city underground will cost Rs 2,400 crore or three times more than the cost of insulating it. The majority of high tension wire in the city is already underground or insulated, they added.
Delhi is a very old city, much of it is unplanned. Despite this, a large part of the critical electricity network is insulated or underground. In fact, areas which are planned with a high density of population have a higher percentage of underground network.
On the other hand, rural and semi-rural areas, with vast open spaces have a higher degree of overhead network. Moreover, usually the old networks are overhead, and all the new upcoming networks are underground, LT voltage level in general is an exception, they said.
The Delhi Cabinet in a meeting chaired by Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal earlier this month approved a policy to convert bare electricity lines into insulated conductors for protection to life and property.
The government said in a statement that about 2,264 km of bare conductor network will be converted into an insulated network by the three discoms – Tata Power Delhi Distribution Limited (TPDDL), BSES Yamuna Power Limited (BYPL) and BSES Rajdhani Power Limited (BRPL) in Delhi.
Kejriwal had also said that the government was working on shifting all overhead electrical wires underground. Around Rs 2,400 crore is estimated to be required for conversion of the entire existing high tension (HT) overhead network to underground. On the other hand, it is estimated to cost around Rs 700 crore for insulating them. The Delhi government has provided Rs 25 crore to the power department in the financial year 2021-22 for the project under the “Jagmagaati Delhi (shining Delhi)” programme.