The bleak power situation that residents of this western Uttar Pradesh town face on Monday was but — strange as it may sound — expected.
According to 2001 census, Ghaziabad’s urban population was 14.73 lakh. The figure has crossed the 18-lakh mark since. While the population increased, the power infrastructure in the city failed to keep pace with the growth.
As a result, today, while Ghaziabad’s power demand has grown to 525 mega watt (MW), the actual availability hovers between 250MW and 350 MW. This has resulted in an overall shortfall between 175 MW and 275 MW at any given point of time.
Result: Average daily outages between six to eight hours has become a norm. With Ghaziabad’s power demand increasing at 10-12 per cent every year and no sign of power capacity augmentation in sight, the situation is not likely to improve anytime soon. To cash in on the situation, private operators have installed commercial generators and are selling electricity to interested buyers. They are charged between Rs 150 to Rs 350 per point to run appliances like light and fans.
“There are over 200 high-rises where residents have got power back-up system for getting uninterrupted supply. But this has also meant power back-up bills anywhere between Rs 10 to Rs 14 per unit. Majority of residents have installed generators or battery run inverters,” said Kuldeep Saxena, a member of Indirapuram RWA Federation.
Officials of Uttar Pradesh Power Company Limited (UPPCL), which is responsible for supplying power to Ghaziabad, blame the dilapidated power infrastructure in the city for the shortfall.
“A majority of sub-stations and equipment were commissioned 30-35 years back. Unless they are upgraded or new ones are installed, the situation will not improve,” said M.N. Srivastava, Executive Engineer (Transmission).