Polls over, people powerless
With the elections gone, no one seems to be bothering about public anger anymore. And that’s why, even as large parts of the capital is reeling under prolonged, frequent power cuts in the middle of a torrid summer, officials seem nonchalant.
Delhi’s peak power demand on Thursday was 4107 megawatts (MW), the highest in its history. That is not unusual for a city, where the affluent denizens cool themselves with powerful ACs and coolers and own the latest power-guzzling apparatus-reflecting the growing lifestyle aspirations of the people of an emerging world class city.
But at the same time, power cuts of up-to 4-6 hours display how the electricity supply network-the distributors, the transmission company and the government as a parent body-cannot match up to the city's world-class dreams.
“There is no power invariably in the afternoon and evening, when we need power the most,” said Anil Sharma, member of the Vasant Kunj residents association.
In Mayur Vihar, people reported four hours of power cuts, while in some sectors in Dwarka, six hours was the norm. North Delhi's Rohini, Pitampura and Keshav Puram are no better, while Janak Puri in the West has power cuts at midnight.
“It feels like we are back in the days of the Delhi Viduyt Board," said Himanshu Sharma, a finance consultant residing in Vikas Puri DDA flats in West Delhi.
Six years ago, the power distribution in Delhi was privatized and the reins were handed over to Anil Ambani’s Reliance and the Tatas bringing in hope that the erstwhile era of sarkari, erratic power supply by Delhi Vidyut Board would end.
“The distcoms claim that they have reduced power theft and distribution losses. But that has not translated into better service,” said Anil Sood of Vasant Kunj RWA. But the government is not willing to concede.
Delhi Power Secretary Rajendra Kumar, for instance, said things were not that bad. “It would be incorrect to say that the system has failed,” he said. “We have managed highest-ever peak demands quite effortlessly. But sometimes there are technical compulsions of overloading of the grid and unforeseen demand and supply mismatches.”