The people of Punjab, who bore the brunt of power shortage last summer, are at the receiving end this winter as well, thanks to unscheduled cuts lasting six to eight hours.
Though power supply has been normal in Patiala city-headquarters of the Punjab State Power Corporation Limited (PSPCL) - there are long outages in the rural areas of adjacent districts, especially Sangrur and Barnala.
Industrial work in the state has also been hit hard in the past few days because of power shortage. In the industrial towns of Ludhiana, Jalandhar and Mandi Gobindgarh, small and big industries have been shutting operations for hours because of unscheduled cuts.
The power scenario is no different from what it was in the summer of 2012, when the power demand far exceeded the supply from production sources.
The PSPCL started imposing cuts a week ago because of shortage of power supply from Mundra plants in Gujarat.
Now, the PSPCL is justifying power cuts in view of the "sudden and unprecedented" rise in the demand due to the high use of heating appliances.
"The demand is 25-30 lakh units (LUs) more than in the previous year. This is due to the sharp fall in the temperature this winter," said Arun Verma, director, distribution, PSPCL.
He said the PSPCL was purchasing power worth more than Rs 1 crore per day to meet the shortage, but problems in supply from the Damodar Valley projects in Jharkhand and West Bengal had changed the distribution equation.
Meanwhile, as per reports from various areas, the power shortage has adversely affected potato farming and sugarcane cultivation in the region.
"Forget the mandatory supply of minimum eight hours for farmers, many regions are not even getting supply for daily farming needs. The state government is in deep slumber over the issue, even as farmers are finding it tough to irrigate their farms," said Joginder Singh, state president of the Bhartiya Kisan Union (Ugrahan).
Badish Jindal, president of the Federation of Association of Small Industries of India, told Hindustan Times on the phone from Ludhiana, "It is really shameful that power cuts are being imposed in the winter as well.
The PSPCL is imposing unscheduled power cuts, which are increasing our production costs and decreasing our productivity. In case of scheduled power cuts, we can at least adjust things accordingly." He said the industry in Ludhiana was facing unscheduled power cuts ranging from 4-6 hours.