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Powerless residents find light solution

In the Millennium City, the power situation is a contradiction of sorts: The residents don't get enough power supply, yet they are paying the highest cost per unit of electricity that they consume.

india Updated: Jul 06, 2010 02:09 IST
Sanjeev K Ahuja

In the Millennium City, the power situation is a contradiction of sorts: The residents don't get enough power supply, yet they are paying the highest cost per unit of electricity that they consume. Paying more, yet getting less

The glitter of the malls on MG Road and that of the condominiums that add to the skyline of this burgeoning city is misleading since their power supply comes from the captive power plants they have installed. Grill session

But, you ask, why do they need captive power plants?

The answer is simple: The state-run power distribution company has failed to supply enough power.

A case in point is the 368-apartment hi-rise Westend Heights in DLF City-V that is completely dependent on diesel run captive power plants since it doesn't yet have a regular power connection. It has been awaiting a power connection since September 2007. Another up-market hi-rise—Pinnacle Condominium—has been waiting for its power connection since November 2008 and runs 100 percent on diesel-run gensets.

This despite the fact that Gurgaon generates more than 47 per cent of the state's total revenue.

Home to more than a hundred national and multinational Information Technology (IT) companies such as American Express, Convergys, Motorola, Ericsson, Polaris, Sapient, Hewitt, Dell, Samsung, Microsoft, IBM, Siemens, Fidelity, Genpact, Oracle, Google, Accenture, Wipro HCL, Wipro, TCS, Microsoft, Oracle and others, the city registered IT exports worth Rs 21,000 crore in 2009-10. The top honchos of most of these companies live in Gurgaon.

"Gurgaon is one of the costliest cities in the world. In addition to the cost of Internet bandwidth, hotel tariffs and other things, the electricity is very expensive here. For the first few months, our operations ran 100 per cent on the power produced by diesel-gensets. The rising overheads affect the global competency of the corporate players here," said Anurag Shrivastva, the managing director of a software producing company Xebia with origin in Netherland.

The failure of Dakshin Haryana Bijli Vitran Nigam (DHBVN)—the state-run power distribution company—to supply adequate power to the condominiums has forced them to rely more and more on the diesel-run captive power plants.

The cost of producing one unit of power from such plants comes to about Rs 8-11. In one instance, the power plants run for 18-20 hours in a day in the the 900-apartment Hamilton Court, Windsor Court and Regency Park-II condominium in DLF City-IV. "We burn about 4,000 litres of diesel worth Rs 1.44 lakh a day because of frequent and long power cuts. A couple of our gensets run 24X7 because against our requirement of 3.2 MW, we get only 2.0 MW of electricity from DHBVN," says Brig (retd.) Kamal Sood of the condominium association.

In about 50 cases, the hi-rise buildings (including commercial ones) run 100 per cent on captive power plants as DHBVN has failed to connect them to the mainstream power supply. Gurgaon has a total of 75 domestic and 144 non-domestic bulk connections for hi-rises at present.

In plotted areas that do not have power back up such as DLF Phase -IV, the residents have got together in groups of 30-70, pooled money and set up "Community gensets" which run on diesel and provide 100 per cent power backup.