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Thanks to democracy, less power to the people

Power cuts ranging from 1 to 5 hours occurred across the Capital on Tuesday when the mercury touched the 41 degrees mark and the peak power load reached 3313 MW.

delhi Updated: Apr 22, 2009 01:32 IST
Avishek G Dastidar

Blame your power woes on the upcoming elections as much as on the searing heat.

Power cuts ranging from 1 to 5 hours occurred across the Capital on Tuesday when the mercury touched the 41 degrees mark and the peak power load reached 3313 MW.

Okhla, Kalkaji, CR Park, GK-I and II and Anand Lok in the south, Patel Nagar, Janak Puri and Dwarka in the west and Laxmi Nagar and IP Extension in the East were the worst affected neighbourhoods.

This year, the power situation has worsened as the power pool of Northern Grid is being over-exploited by member-states, thanks to this being an election summer.

Poll-bound North Indian states, not wanting to risk public ire due to power cuts, are drawing outrageous amounts of electricity from the Grid.

On Tuesday, Haryana and Rajasthan, for instance, overdrew 500 and 688 MW power respectively. Himachal Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Punjab, too, were overdrawing 250-300 MW each. Delhi overdrew around 100 MW.

Overdraft of power makes the grid frequency fall below operable levels, leading to cuts.

“We understand that state governments are desperate to provide uninterrupted power because of the elections. But with this kind of overdraft, the grid’s stability is affected,” said a senior Power Grid official, who did not wish to be named.

To make matters worse, West Bengal’s Damodar Valley Corporation (DVC), is supplying just 10 per cent of the 400 MW it committed to Delhi.

“When 400 MW of assured power is absent, there is little we can do in terms of backup,” said a senior power department official.

Hydel plants in Himachal Pradesh are also running below the optimum level due to inadequate snowmelt.

But these reasons mean little to residents. “Power cuts are happening when we need power the most — in the afternoon and evening,” said Kalkaji resident Reena Sabharwal.

“They should warn us through RWAs about scheduled cuts so that we can make arrangements,” said SP Oberoi of Janak Puri C-Block RWA.