Hour-long power cuts on Tuesday in several Delhi localities laid bare the tall claims by private discoms to provide "uninterrupted power supply" to the city.
Absence of power, especially during afternoon hours, only compounded the woes of people who were suffering the hottest day of the season on Tuesday. With mercury, the power demand also soared to an all-time high of 4,949 MW. Officials claimed the supply deficit was just 13 MW and only a handful of areas experienced power disruptions.
"This highest power demand of the season was recorded at 3pm. We were able to meet the demand successfully and there was load-shedding only to the extent of 13 MW.
Some areas did face power cuts but it must be due to local faults," said a senior power department official.
However, the situation on the ground was worse than claimed.
North Delhi residents faced power cuts for more than four hours. A number of societies in Rohini, Pitampura and Keshavpuram faced power cuts from 1pm to 5pm.
"We contacted the power distribution company but they were not able to locate the fault for at least four hours. There was no response on the helpline too. There are performance standards for these distribution companies then how come these areas were not supplied power from some other source?" said Sanjiv Kumar, president of Delhi Residents' Front.
Other areas which faced power cuts include Mayur Vihar phase I, Mayur Vihar phase II, New Ashok Nagar, Dwarka, Palam, Mahavir Enclave, Madhu Vihar among others. Officials of Tata Power Delhi Distribution Limited said the problem occurred due to a fault in the cable and it was restored within two hours.
The torrid heat and power cuts have brought along with them several health issues -- chief among them severe dehydration.
"Since the past two weeks we have already seen three cases of kidney failure due to excessive water loss. Because of too much water loss, blood volume goes down and the level of urea goes up, resulting in breakdown of kidneys," said Dr SP Byotra, chairman, department of medicine, Sir Ganga Ram Hospital.
On an average, Byotra sees three cases of dehydration in his out-patient department every day.
Dehydration causes loss of necessary salts and minerals from within the body. Apart from dehydration, this climate is also conducive to the spread of stomach infections due to drinking of contaminated water.
"Gastroenteritis, typhoid and jaundice are very common in this weather, as people often tend to eat and drink at the roadside to beat the heat that triggers infection," said Byotra.