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50,000 litres of diesel is burnt every hour for power backup in Gurugram

Gurguram residents are dependent on generator sets for uninterrupted power supply to run lights, fans, ACs. Factory owners use high-­powered diesel generator sets to ensure there is no gap in production.

gurgaon Updated: Jun 16, 2018 17:56 IST
Dhananjay Jha
Dhananjay Jha
Hindustan Times, Gurugram
Gurugram diesel,Gurugram power backup,Gurugram news
A diesel generator, on Gurudwara Road near Aggarwal Dharamshala Chowk, emits pollutants.(Yogendra Kumar/HT Photo)

At least 50,000 litres of diesel is burnt every hour in Gurugram to ensure power backup in residential and commercial areas, officials of the Haryana State Pollution Control Board (HSPCB) estimate. This is enough fuel to fill the tank of a hatchback 1,000 times.

In a city where offices, industries and condominiums are designed and marketed in line with global standards, diesel generator (DG) sets remain the biggest and the most reliable source of power in summer. The DG sets are run for up to 10 hours a day in summer to ensure power supply across the city.

“There are around 1,500 DG sets, with a capacity ranging between 125 KV and 6,000 KV, that are installed across the city’s residential, industrial and commercial establishments. Together, they consume about 50,000 litres of diesel every hour,” said JB Sharma, regional manager, HSPCB Gururgam.

It’s a necessary evil, residents say. On June 11, for instance, Fresco Apartment in Sector 50 used the DG set for 25 consecutive hours, consuming 75,000 litres of diesel, said Nilesh Tandon, a resident.

“We cannot think of living in a condominium without reliable power backup. The power supply in Gurugram has worsened and in summer, it is pathetic. We do not mind paying extra for reliable power backup. We have no option. We have appealed to our developer to install solar panels, which is economically affordable, on the rooftop to cut pollution,” he said.

According to real estate experts, 100% power backup is a major reason for people choosing to stay in condominiums. It has also been a deciding factor for people migrating to the Millennium City from Delhi in recent years.

Pankaj Tomar, a city-based real estate consultant, said, “Many families I know shifted to Gurugram in the last decade from Delhi for 24x7 power. This is a top priority for any prospective homebuyer.”

Environmentalists said the consumption of diesel in Gurugram is much higher than the estimates, though there has not been an independent study to support it. It ensures lights, fans and airconditioners keep running, but it’s contribution to air pollution and adverse impact on the health of the residents is hardly debated, they alleged.

Vivek Kamboj, an environmentalist and the founder-director of Hariyali NGO, said, “HSPCB data may not be updated. There are many societies in sectors 80-115 that are not included in its list. There are around 2,500-3,000 high capacity DG sets installed across the city and they consume one lakh litres of diesel per hour. If we go by average power cuts of three hours a day, it would mean three lakh litres of diesel is consumed daily.”

The pollution board does not have a mechanism to check whether the generator sets are compliant with the norms, he said. “Burning diesel emits two dangerous pollutants — PM 2.5, SO2 and NOX into the air.”

“We hire independent experts to do routine testing of DG sets. If we find faults in the sets, we issue a show-cause notice to explain the reasons and to rectify it in seven days. In case they repeat the fault, the bank guarantee of the defaulters will be forfeit and their premises will be sealed,” Sharma said.

HSPCB is responsible for regular testing of DG sets and to submit a monthly report on emissions to the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) and the Union ministry of environment and forests.

“The regulations of the MOEF on emissions from DG sets pertain to type approval testing, production conformity testing and labelling requirements. The regulations also include a list of authorised agencies for type approval testing. We do regular testings of DG sets and submit reports to the ministry,” Sharma said.

DG sets are hugely concentrated in DLF areas, Sushant Lok, 50 malls of Sohna Road and MG Road, Udyog Vihar industries and new group housing complexes spread in sectors along Northern Peripheral Road (NPR).

“Besides that, there are hundreds of construction sites that use DG sets,” Vaishali Rana, resident, BSF Society Gwalpahari, said.

“Our society has no electricity supply from DHBVN and we are totally dependent on DG sets for power backup. We believe many societies, like us, have only DG power backup,” said Sudhir Garg, a resident of Centrum Park.

Raj Singla, the former president of Chamber of Industries, Udyog Vihar, said, “There are around 1,200 DGS in the five phases of Udyog Vihar, mostly below 800 KV, but cause pollution. We use DG sets for an average of two-three hours from May to July. We know this is harmful to the health and the environment, but we have no alternative.”

The only way out is to ensure regular supply of power by DHBVN but improvement, if any, will be visible only after four years when the Smart Grid project becomes fully operational.

Vinay Pratap Singh, deputy commissioner, Gurugram, said, “We are working on reducing the dependency on DG sets by improving electricity supply. The supply has improved and we hope it would be much better when Smart Grid becomes a reality soon.”

First Published: Jun 16, 2018 10:58 IST