Home News Technical Articles Interviews Cover Story Orders & Contracts
Power Generation
Green Energy

Transformation at every step

Em News Bureau ,  Monday, November 05, 2012, 16:49 Hrs  [IST]

The deadline for mandatory use of only BIS-certified CRGO steel has now been extended to March 31, 2013, giving the transformer industry some breathing space. It has been widely debated that the appalling failure rate of distribution transformers in India stems from the rampant use of scrap CRGO. To some extent, this is true but it would be unfair to believe that inferior CRGO is the only cause, and that abolishing its use will alleviate all worries.

One section of the industry believes that CRGO is an indefatigable material that has a life of at least 75 years, many times the life of even a good-quality transformer. India has never been able to produce CRGO locally, making the transformer industry squarely dependent on imported material. In the 1970s and 1980s, the cost of imported CRGO of prime quality was prohibitively high, coercing India to use inferior CRGO. It thus created a legacy where several Indian companies began to factor the use of scrap CRGO in the transformer design. There were no problems, so far. It was only when unscrupulous transformer manufacturers began the willful use of inferior CRGO and ended up making substandard transformers that the real issue came to light.

The most intriguing part of the story is if bad transformers were made, why were they purchased and pressed into service? All fingers point to the antiquated procurement policies of state government power utilities that are the biggest purchasers of distribution transformers. With the motive of being the L1 bidder, a supplier could sell a cheap transformer to the power utility and the utility would happily buy it as the process was under "full sanction" of the L1 policy. If the transformer failed, the supplier would be blacklisted but the unscrupulous element could always reincarnate as a new corporate entity with the same crooked ethics.

Coming back to the use of only BIS-certified CRGO, it has its own practical difficulties. So far, only four of the fifteen-odd CRGO mills in the world have applied for BIS certification and some are in the process. However, the certification routine—much like a typical Indian bureaucratic procedure—is cumbersome. It is likely that the tedium of certification could frustrate the noble intentions of a foreign mill seeking to supply CRGO to India. If only few CRGO mills are registered, BIS-certified CRGO could get scarce leading to a rise in prices.

While the BIS certification policy is welcome, it needs to be matched by proactive support from the Indian government to foreign suppliers, complemented by simplicity of procedures. At the same time, there should be serious thinking on procurement policies. Quality of the product—and not just the price—must be factored in.

In the CRGO case, it remains to be seen what happens post March 31, 2013—whether we have a new regime or just a new deadline.
Post Your RemarkYOUR REMARK
* Email :    
  Website :  



© 2017 Electrical Monitor. All Rights Reserved.