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Unscheduled power cuts add to woes of residents in Amritsar

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times  Amritsar, July 16, 2014
First Published: 01:19 IST(16/7/2014) | Last Updated: 01:23 IST(16/7/2014)

Since the monsoon continues to elude the border areas of the state, the load on transmission lines and transformers is increasing with each passing day, ultimately resulting in frequent disruption in power supply in both urban and rural areas of the district.

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After the Punjab State Power Corporation Limited (PSPCL) failed to announce scheduled power cuts, increasing number of unscheduled cuts are adding to the woes of the residents.

To cope with the unscheduled cuts and frequent tripping of transmission lines, the residents are relying on generator sets or battery-run invertors to get some relief from heat and humidity.

Residents have been resorting to protests outside the maintenance centres of the PSPCL in the city very often over frequent disruption in electricity supply due to technical snags.

They can be seen around these centres even around midnight, getting their complaints registered and
ensuring that the linemen attend to the fault at the earliest. On Tuesday, members of the Punjab Youth Congress (PYC) took to the streets and staged a protest at Kitchlew Chowk. Led by Amritsar Lok Sabha constituency in-charge Vikas Soni, the PYC activists questioned deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal’s claims that Punjab would be an electricity surplus state.

They distributed handheld fans to residents saying electricity was becoming a “rare commodity” in the state.

“If such a situation continues, the only way to beat the heat would be with the help of handheld fans,” said Soni, adding that even inverters had stopped running in certain areas of the city since there was no power availability to recharge their batteries. About the power scenario in the border areas, a PSPCL spokesman said despite an increasing load on transmission lines, scheduled power cuts had not been introduced so far.

“PSPCL employees are working overtime to ensure that technical faults are repaired and the supply restored in the shortest possible time,” he said.

“There are only unscheduled power cuts which are done away with once the supply becomes normal. An average cut for domestic consumers in the city is 3.54-hour duration while in rural areas the duration is 4.15 hours,” he said adding that the duration can be increased or decreased depending on the load on transmission lines.

Till last week, the average duration of power cuts in the city was around two hours. But since there has been no rain, the duration has doubled this week and could increase if the situation worsens.

Barring Mondays, no power cuts have been proposed for the industry. The government has promised that tubewells will get seven-and-a-half-hour uninterrupted power supply in border districts.

Despite this, farmers have been complaining of interruption in power supply.

Though the PSPCL claims that it is compensating farmers for loss of supply to their tubewells, various farmer groups of the area have been contesting this. PSPCL officials said the load on electricity lines had increased due to use of air-conditioners (ACs) at various commercial outlets, malls besides homes. In certain commercial areas such as the district shopping complex in Ranjit Avenue generators run round the clock and due to AC load power breakdowns occur frequently.

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