When you wonder if the power scenario in Delhi has changed at all since the much-hyped privatisation of the distribution network, you are not alone. Every second Delhi resident feels that private players have made no difference to the city’s dismal power situation and unscheduled load shedding.
At the same time, 41 per cent of the consumers are aware that the problem lies with insufficient generation rather than shabby distribution. Theft remains the second biggest concern and 45 per cent of Delhiites blame the Distcoms for not doing enough to check pilferage.
These are some of the findings of the first ever survey on Delhi’s power situation since the privatisation of the distribution system. It was conducted for Hindustan Times by C Fore among residents of various parts of Delhi.
Six years of privatisation and power cuts are still a round-the-year ordeal. Fifty six per cent of Delhiites are angry with Distcoms for never announcing power cut schedules in advance.
“Something as basic as giving roster on power cuts, that used to be done by the DVB, is not followed by the Distcoms,” said V Raghuraman, principal advisor (Energy) at the Confederation of Indian Industries.
Another big grudge against the Distcoms is their fast running meters – a fact acknowledged even by the Delhi government’s Electricity Consumers Advocate Committee last month; it was first reported in this newspaper. While more than 60 per cent of Delhiites are upset over faulty meters and inflated bills, 44 per cent blame the government for going soft on the Distcoms.
But it’s not all downhill for the Distcoms. While 59 per cent of the consumers endorse the improved quality of electricity supplied, nearly as many sound happy with the courteous Distcom staff and their prompt response to fault complaints. Finally, consider yourself lucky if you have forgotten those DESU/DVB days when most linesmen didn’t move a finger unless you greased their palms. The Distcoms won’t be proud to learn that every third Delhiite has already bribed their staff at least once.