The unprecedented power crisis in the Millennium City has wreaked havoc on the rich and poor alike. But the denizens of posh condominiums can afford the costly power supplied by builders through their back-up systems (though it is burning a big hole in their pockets also), it is their poor cousins in not-so-rich residential complexes who are the worst affected. Residents of many high-rises have been spending their waking hours without lifts, fans, air conditioners and coolers, as they can’t afford power back-up.
In several high rises, diesel gensets run out of fuel after a few hours of operation as residents find it financially unfeasible to use them round-the-clock. Against R5 charged per unit of electricity by the Dakshin Haryana Bijli Vitran (DHBVN), diesel-run gensets cost R12-13 per unit.
At the eight-storey high-rise Devinder Vihar, an HT team had to use the stairs to reach the seventh floor flat where a former RWA member resides.
"We have no alternative but bear the heat. We have proposed to buy two 500 KB generator sets to meet the supply demand but it will need a capital investment. Each resident will have to come forward and contribute," said Colonel (retd) Virendra Singh, an RWA member.
The Jalvayu Towers RWA general secretary, Colonel (retd) JK Gulia, said that since most of the residents in the eight-storey high rise are retired servicemen living on pensions, investment in a high-capacity generator is difficult.
In such societies, air conditioners, refrigerators and other home appliances have been sitting idle.
“Partial back-up supports lifts and lighting in common areas only. This summer, we have spent most of the days and nights without air conditioners and coolers,” said Shakunthala Gulia, an elderly housewife who lives in Sector 56-based highrise. Her 26-year-old neighbour, Gaurav Mehla, complained, “Power cuts have badly-affected my study plans.”
Although insulated from the heat, residents of condominiums with 24-hour power supply have to put up with inflated electricity bills.
"Every third day we are purchasing diesel worth nearly R1.17 lakh. The power bills are as high as Rs 15,000 a month per flat compared to Rs 5,000 a month before the power outages began," said Rajesh Sood, Secretary of the RWA at Heritage City RWA located on MG Road.