The belated arrival of monsoon showers in the National Capital Region (NCR) may somewhat ease the crushing power crisis in Delhi, Gurgaon, Noida, Faridabad and other adjoining suburbs but the problem won't go away in a hurry.
The government, however, remains in denial. "I don't think there is any problem," Sushil Kumar Shinde, power minister, told HT over phone. "Uttar Pradesh has some power shortages but overall, there is no problem," he said.
Till last week, large swathes of Gurgaon, Noida and Faridabad faced daily power cuts of between eight and 15 hours — the result of a 400 MW shortfall in power supply. In other words, the supply of power was 15-20% short of demand.
There were outages in parts of Delhi as well, though there was no supply shortfall in the Capital. Officials blamed technical snags and overdrawal of power by neighbouring states for this.
A major reason for the crisis is the faulty demand projection by the power distribution companies (discoms) in Delhi (BSES Rajdhani Power, BSES Yamuna Power and Tata Power Delhi Distribution) and the governments of Delhi, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh.
This year, peak demand in Delhi has touched 5,642 MW. Against this, the power department and the discoms projected a demand of only 5,500 MW. The situation is the same in Gurgaon, Noida and Faridabad.
Spokespersons of the discoms said: "Power demand in Delhi has been rising at an alarming rate."
As a result, both citizens and businesses in these suburbs have been suffering. Even residents living in high-end housing complexes with 100% power back-up haven't been spared as diesel generators have overheated and broken down.
The scorching temperatures have pushed up power demand as usage of air-conditioners has risen.
"We face 12-17 hours of unscheduled power cuts a day and running units on generator sets is unsustainable," said president, Faridabad Small Industries Association, Rajive Chawla.
The government said the power crisis will ease in the next fortnight, but experts warned that the situation can worsen if rains do not gather pace over the next few days.
Said Amit Aggarwal, managing director, Dakshin Haryana Bijli Vitran Nigam, which supplies power to this glitzy township, promised that the situation would improve soon. "Gurgaon is our priority and we will take utmost care of the city."