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Powerpoint city is powerless

At 75 years of age, Col (retired) CBVL Shashtri cannot afford to fritter away his pension. But all through this summer, he’s lost Rs 2500-3000 every month, reports Sanjeev K Ahuja.

india Updated: Aug 11, 2009 23:39 IST
Sanjeev K Ahuja

At 75 years of age, Col (retired) CBVL Shashtri cannot afford to fritter away his pension. But all through this summer, he’s lost Rs 2500-3000 every month.

It’s the price of a good night’s sleep, without which the septuagenarian would risk falling ill and running up dearer medical bills.

The Sector 17 resident’s ‘sleep money’ actually goes towards power backup, that sees him through 8-12 hours of power cuts.

“The bi-monthly electricity bills have swelled to about Rs 12,000, as against Rs 5,000 earlier. I live all alone in my 500 sq yard house. I use only one air conditioner, a fan and a couple of CFL lights. Last week, my neighbour, who has a generator, invited me over to his house when he saw me fanning myself in the lawn around midnight.”

Breaking point

“Enough is enough” is the refrain amongst the power-starved residents of Gurgaon.

Many have decided to stop fretting and improve their electricity supply through their own sources. Others have decided to withhold 50 per cent of their future electricity bills.

Anger is widespread amongst those residents who have received orders to buy new electricity meters. They have decided to move court.

“Electricity consumers across five phases of DLF City would start withholding 50 per cent of their electricity bills from September. Even though the 25,000 families in DLF City contribute Rs 250 crore to the coffers of Dakshin Haryana Bijli Vitran Nigam (DHBVN) each year, we have the most obsolete and outdated power distribution infrastructure,” said RS Rathee, president of DLF Qutub Enclave RWA (QERWA).

On the other hand, residents of DLF City (phase II) have got together to form an electricity users association, to qualify for sourcing power on their own from private players.

“We have had enough of DHBVN and the private developers, who have failed to ensure adequate power supply. Besides deficient power supply, we are affected by overloaded substations, transformers and feeders that collapse frequently,” said Sudhir Kapoor, secretary general of DLF City RWA.

Kapoor said the residents of Phase II planned to lay power infrastructure parallel to DHBVN’s at a cost of Rs 6 crore and source power from private players like BSES and NDPL that distribute power in Delhi.

Recently, DHBVN sprung another surprise on the residents of high-rise apartments, who pay Rs 10-12 per unit for power generated from captive power plants.

The power utility has made it mandatory for residents to install three-phase four-wire meters having dual registration facility for recording consumption through DHBVN’s system as well as through their own power plants.

For the 924-odd apartment owners in Ridgewood Estate, it would entail a collective expense of Rs 1 crore.

“It is ridiculous that we have to install these meters, which are available with just one supplier authorised by DHBVN. It is a scam,” alleged Kittu Mathur, a resident of Ridgewood Estate.

“Moreover, it is clearly embossed on these meters that they are the property of DHBVN. Why should the residents cough up another crore of rupees when we are already facing shortages and paying through the nose for captive power?” said Mathur.