Uninterrupted power supply still a distant dream for Gurugram
Residents claim the infrastructure has not been able to keep pace with the fast growth of the city, resulting in frequent power cuts and dependence on gensets.gurgaon Updated: Jun 15, 2018 09:57 IST
Around Tuesday midnight, about 150 residents of Ardee City in Sector 52 hit the streets to protest against power cuts that lasted up to 10 hours. Ever since it was built 20 years ago, residents in this condominium have to depend on the developer to buy electricity from the discom since they do not have official power connections. As a result, they never have enough load to last them a day.
Earlier on Sunday, residents of DLF Phase 3 blocked the road near Moulsari Avenue rapid metro station in protest against short supply of power. Some of them said they had not slept for a couple of days due to fluctuation and power cuts which became worse after the storm on Saturday.
The skyscraping apartments and sprawling bungalows of Gurugram may lend a promising image of the city during the day. But the sleepless nights that residents spend due to long unregulated power cuts take the sheen off in a matter of hours.
Residents, who settled in the Millennium City in the hope of a better lifestyle and facilities, say they feel short changed as power cuts continue to last six to eight hours every day in this season. While inverters give up in independent houses, backup bills leave a big hole in the pockets of those living in condominiums.
Residents complain that though the city’s population has grown manifold over the last decade, there has not been a commensurate development of infrastructure.
Rajiv Lamba, a resident Sector 50, said, “Every summer, specially between May and August, we take to streets over erratic power cuts. Dakshin Haryana Bijli Vitran Nigam (DHBVN) claims there is no dearth of electricity but I cannot count a single year in the past decade of my residence here when we did not face power cuts.”
Sanjiv Chopra, chief engineer, said power demand in Gurugram shot up after 2005.
“Between 2000-2005, the city’s power demand ranged between 225 MW and 350 MW and the number of consumers increased from 2.75 lakh to 3.25 lakh. There were seven stations and all were underloaded as demand was under control,” he said.
But 2005-06 onwards, the city witnessed a phenomenal growth of industries, commercial establishments, group housing projects, condominiums and hundreds of unauthorised colonies, said Chopra.
The DHBVN could not keep pace with the increasing power demand of the city to minimise the gap between the demand and supply.
“I can recall that between 2006 and 2010, Gurugram’s power demand shot up to 950-1,000 MW, almost three times in four years. This was due to the rapid urbanisation. Under pressure to meet the demand, the DHBVN built seven more substations. It was a major challenge,” said Chopra.
Gurugram is about 1.65% of the Haryana’s total area (44,212 square km) but the city guzzles over 20% of the power that the state gets.
Power supply in Gurugram this summer has touched 1,690 MW and is likely to go up to 2000-2100 MW in July and August.
As per the 2011 Census, Gurugram’s population was 15 lakh. It was 8 lakh in 2001. “The population doubled in the first decade of the century and the power consumption shot up five times,” said Chopra.
However, city residents feel that the Census did not give the correct picture of city’s population.
“If we believe the Census, there should be no power crisis because 1700 MW is good enough to feed the population. But fact is that the city’s population today stands at close to 30 lakh,” said RN Malik, a retired government official.
However, even though there was no actual power deficit in terms of availability, the government could not build power supply infrastructure to cater to the tens of thousands of approved colonies, malls, MNCS and shopping complexes.
Residents alleged that even though the government took external development charges (EDC), it failed to ensure that proper feeders, substations and transformers are in place for uninterrupted power supply.
RS Rathee, president of Gurgaon Citizens’ Council, said Haryana must augment its power generation capacity, which is currently 2800 MW. Haryana has to buy power from various sources to meet the state’s demand. Due to its dependence on external agencies, whenever there is a technical glitch or shortage of fuel, power supply in the state is affected.
However, residents refused to buy this argument.
“We often hear that because of the shortage of coal, Haryana could not get enough power from a thermal power supplier. This is a lame excuse. It shows lack of will on part of the government,” said S Oberoi, resident of Uniworld Garden II, Sohna Road.
Haryana Power Generation Corporation Limited (HPGCL) is the nodal power agency in Haryana. HPGCL supplies the power to State Load Dispatch Centre (SLDC) which sends it to transmission agencies such as Haryana Vidyut Prasaran Nigam (HVPN) and HVPN supplies power to the distribution companies such as the Dakshin Haryana Bijli Vitran Nigam (DHBVN) from where it reaches the consumers.
The state generates 2,800 MW on its own and buys 4,400 MW from NTPC, 800 MW from Bhakra Nangal, 1,424 MW from Adani Limited and 400 MW from Tata Power. It all adds up to 9,824 MW of the state.
Chopra said the power cuts in Gurugram were not because of the shortage of power but due to technical faults and shortage of fuel with the companies from where the state buys power.
“For us, a major challenge is to stop theft and other losses which cause adverse impact on electricity supply and genuine consumers suffer,” Chopra said.
“We have appealed to city residents also to declare their load requirement as on date so that we can estimate exact demand. Currently, we cannot assess the exact peak demand. But we are now coming up with the Smart Grid which will resolve these problems,” he said.
Power officials said theft accounts for 20% of the power lost in Gurugram. In the state, this average is 12%-15%.
First Published: Jun 15, 2018 09:56 IST