The fight for power in the Punjab panchayat elections has come as a relief for electricity-starved villages in the state at the expense of their urban brethrens.
The state government has issued verbal orders to the Punjab State Power Corporation Limited (PSPCL) to ensure around-the-clock power supply to villages till July 3, the day the poll process is completed.
With little increase in generation and the demand-supply gap at 100 lakh units, power cuts have shifted to urban areas and the state's industry.
Cities like Ludhiana, Amritsar, Jalandhar, Mohali, Moga and Pathankot residents are now sweating it out. However, Bathinda is out of bounds for power cuts as it is the home town of chief minister Parkash Singh Badal and daughter-in-law Harmisrat Kaur Badal is the area MP.
PSPCL authorities claim to be imposing power cuts of one-three hours in major cities, but the blackouts are known to last more than half a day at some places.
Two-day compulsory weekly offs are back for general industry and rolling mills, three-day weekly offs have been implemented for induction furnaces and other big industry.
"We have no other way to comply with the directions, except imposing cuts in the cities and on industry," admits a PSPCL employee.
Supply to agriculture is also down to six hours a day against the promised eight hours. In some circles, the supply is even less than five hours.
Records show that PSPCL has a power supply capacity of 1,950 lakh units against a demand of 2,050 lakh units. The situation is worsened as two units of the Bathinda thermal plant and a unit of the Shahan hydel-power project is out of operation, making the state lose out on another 350 MW of power generation.