When it comes to basic facilities in Gurgaon, electricity remains a casualty. Despite the city being home to 250 Fortune 500 companies, its residents are deprived of regular power supply. Unscheduled power cuts are a regular affair due to faults in power lines, and tripping of feeders and transformers due to overdrawing. Left with no other option, power-hungry Gurgaon is forced to switch on costly inverters and diesel generator sets.
This power backup in residential societies comes at a heavy price — over Rs.12 per unit. Contrast this with the electricity tariff from the power discom Dakshin Haryana Bijli Vitran Nigam that ranges from Rs.6.50 to Rs.8.50 per unit. Various governments in the state had promised to make Gurgaon a no-power cut zone, but that has not happened so far.
Adding to these problems is the aging power infrastructure that is unable to take the load. Despite power demand increasing by more than 12% every year, the infrastructure is not being replaced or upgraded.
“Living in Gurgaon is becoming unbearable despite spending through our noses. There are power outages for more than six hours a day sometimes. Generator sets run for more than seven hours per day in a nearby highrise and the smoke enters our locality. It causes pollution,” said Brij Mohan Mehta of DLF Phase 4.
“Generator sets provide some relief to owners, but they end up polluting the air. They are also damaged by frequent breakdowns. Inverters too stop working during long power outages,” said SK Sharma, president, DLF Phase 3 federation.
Many multistorey buildings and apartment complexes offer 24-hour power backup, but at an additional cost. Residents have to pay more for power from diesel-guzzling generator sets.
“With frequent power cuts, we end up paying more for backup from generator sets. Power from the discom costs Rs.6.50 per unit while backup power ranges from Rs.12 to Rs.15 per unit,” said Basant Agarwal of Sector 4.
Apart from this, when it comes to developing power infrastructure, residents of privately developed townships are caught in the crossfire between the state-run discom and developers. Both pass the buck when it comes to strengthening infrastructure.
Claiming that there is no shortage of power supply, Sanjeev Chopra, superintending engineer (operations), DHBVN, said outages are largely due to old infrastructure. “Power cuts occur due to local faults caused by old transformers and weather conditions. We are replacing old equipment in a phased manner,” he said.
Whenever there is an increase in power demand, transformers and feeders break down, leading to long power outages in certain areas.
However, Chopra said, “Replacing all the infrastructure at one go is not possible.”