Shivering under an intense cold wave, Delhiites also faced power cuts as dense fog played havoc with coal supply to the Dadri power plant of the National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC).
One 500-MW unit of the plant had to be shut down with discoms carrying out load-shedding on a rotational basis.
Delhi government officials said NTPC had run out of coal stock, resulting in a shortage of 350-400 MW. Officials said with dense fog forcing cancellation and rescheduling of goods trains, only 45 per cent of the total requirement has been reaching the power plants.
The situation has been made worse by the fact that discoms had been selling power to other states in view of the power surplus on low demand. Since discoms are minting money, Delhiites are facing power cuts.
Though Delhi government purchases power in advance to meet the shortfall during summers, no such arrangements are made for winters as power is available in surplus. However, due to the fog and the subsequent shutting of a unit of Dadri power plant and other power plants, the situation aggravated.
Areas in south and east Delhi were the worst hit. "There was no electricity for at least two hours during the morning and we were unable to use geyser and other electrical appliances," said Rashmi Singh, a resident of Mayur Vihar phase I.
"Power distribution companies had entered into agreement for the sale of surplus power as it is a lean period. Without serving a notice, NTPC reduced supply to Delhi and therefore, distribution companies are carrying out load-shedding," said a senior Delhi government official.
Officials said that the situation may turn worse in the coming few days. "The situation is worse during peak hours — in the morning and evening — as the load is maximum during that period. As schools will reopen, the situation will aggravate as the demand will increase but the supply will remain the same till the fog situation improves," added the official.