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City corporates lose sleep over outages

india Updated: Jul 12, 2012 01:09 IST
Deevakar Anand
Deevakar Anand
Hindustan Times
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The recent unprecedented power crisis has not only affected the denizens but it wreaked havoc on the functioning of the corporate sector of Gurgaon, which is home to nearly 300 of Fortune 500 companies and hundreds of MNCs and Indian giants.

Besides escalating the operating costs of the companies — as they had to organise alternative power backup systems — the crisis has drained the productivity of the employees working in these firms.

Many of them couldn’t afford costly power backup at home. Moreover, the crisis had cast a shadow over Gurgaon’s claim as an investment destination.

Managers of several top companies said their employees complained of sleep deprivation and fatigue due to erratic electricity supply in peak summer.

According to them, many staffers reported late for duty as power crisis had triggered water supply problems.

“While it is difficult to quantify productivity loss, a lot of employees surely failed to deliver their best during the fortnight when power outages stretched to 15-16 hours a day. Knowing they were rest-deprived for not having a power back up at home, we couldn’t do anything but empathise with them,” said Bhupinder Singh, CEO, Serco Global Services, (BPO division).

About 5,000 employees work in its Gurgaon office. According to Singh, the operational cost of his company escalated by 3-5% during the crisis period.

The MD of software firm Hughes Systique, Vinod Sood, pointed out that while on normal days 20-25% of the power demand was met by the company’s own backup system, during the crisis the dependency on diesel gensets grew up to 80%.

“Employees, especially married women with children, sought leave. Given the situation, we had to give in,” he said.

Guarav Gupta, promoter of a software firm, said since clients did not compromise on delivery deadlines, he had to be tough with his employees.

“Our employees got stuck for hours together when residents took to streets and blocked roads over the power situation. It was a helpless situation for us,” said Raman Roy, chairman, Quatro, BPO.