City reels under power outages

City reels under power outages

Troublesome season

Summer has just about started in Delhi and we are yet to see its most unsparing months, but the city is already suffering from long and frequent power outages.

 Several parts of the city, especially, East and West Delhi, are seeing unremitting power cuts. Load shedding, both scheduled and unscheduled, is continuing for one to five hours in a day. Adding to residents’ woes, helplines provided by some discoms are also proving to be unhelpful with faults being corrected too late. In the scorching heat, such power cuts are not just uncomfortable but throwing life out of gear.

In East Delhi areas such as Vivek Vihar, Anand Vihar, Shahadra, Dilshad Garden, Jwala Nagar, Circular Road etc., residents are braving the heat without electricity. Rajesh Agarwal, East Delhi representative of URJA (an umbrella body of RWAs) says, “Since the past 15 days at least, power cuts have been too often. How long can inverters and generator sets work? After a point of time of time, they too give up. We are now getting used to the idea of spending the rest of the summer like this.”

RK Yadav, an RWA representative from Shahadra, says the helpline number facilitated by the distribution company BSES in his area is also not very useful. “We call them and by rote they repeat, ‘Grid mein fault hai;’ they might as well record and put that reply on the line! Our other complaint is they do not bother to provide us a schedule for when they’ll disconnect power. We could, at least, plan our lives around it.”

As much as residential colonies, schools and hospitals are also suffering. Dr Bindu Kalra, owner of a hospital in Krishna Nagar, pointed out, “A hospital like ours employs so many heavy-load medical appliances. Not only is it extremely expensive to run them on gen-sets all the time, the fumes are also harmful to the patients. Many patients even tell us that.”

West Delhi is faring no better with areas like Uttam Nagar and Janakpuri witnessing up to five hour power outages. Gulshan Rai, a resident of Janakpuri, says, “Other than sweating it out in the heat, another problem that presents itself during power cuts is that of water. During the scheduled hours, if we have a power cut, the supply lines are not able to draw water. It is double trouble for every family.”

It is notable that both these areas are provided electricity by BSES, namely, BSES Rajdhani Power Limited (BRPL) and BSES Yamuna Power Limited (BYPL). BSES is currently locked in a legal tussle with NTPC, the national power provider. They are unwilling to pay dues to NTPC, a situation which can potentially lead to a blackout in Delhi post May 31.

Atul Goyal, president of URJA, opines, “This situation totally negates the spirit under which privatisation of electricity distribution was done back in 2002. If these discoms cannot do their job properly, the Delhi Government should once again take control of them. Electricity is an essential commodity, not a luxury in a city like Delhi.”