Pune With thousands of residents in the western suburbs of Wakad, Thergaon, Pimple Nilakh and Pimple Saudagar suffering from chronic power outages over the last four to seven years, the burning issue could become an electoral flashpoint between the residents and the politicians from the area.The Federation of Pimpri-Chinchwad municipal corporation housing societies, a conglomeration of nearly 1,000 societies from these areas have been holding frequent meetings with local corporators; Laxman Jagtap, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) member of legislative Assembly (MLA), and Maharashtra state electricity distribution company limited (MSEDCL) officials, demanding that the matter be addressed forthwith.On June 8, BJP corporator Tushar Kamte initiated a Janata Darbar where senior officials of MSEDCL, such as Shivaji Waifalkar, executive engineer (EE), and Suryavanshi, additional executive engineer, as well as senior officials of all the departments of PCMC, such as Ramdas Tambe, EE PCMC water supply; Ajay Jadhav, PCMC chief health officer and PB Gaikwad, PCMC udyan vibhag GARDEN DEPARTMENT, were present to interact with the residents and hear their issues.Over 100 complaints were addressed to MLA Laxman Jagtap who assured the people that all their complaints “would be addressed in 15 days,” which, however, did not happen.Letters were also written to the chief minister Devendra Fadnavis about the apathy and state of the MSEDCL, especially in suburbs, like Wakad, Thergaon, Pimple Nilakh, Pimple Saudagar and Vishalnagar, where the population has bloated to 21 lakhs from 2.5 lakhs in 2007.“I am extremely saddened that since the last couple of years we are facing massive electricity outages up to anywhere between 50 to 75 hours every month. This problem has increased many folds since the last few months where residential areas have had to go without electricity for up to 22 hours at a stretch. This was not just a one-off incident. This has repeated on at least three occasions in the last three (May to August) months. Poor quality of infrastructure and lack of manpower have been the constant replies from the engineers stationed in PCMC,” said Kiran Vadgama, resident of Wakad and chairman of Palash cooperative housing society limited and member of the federation, in his letter to the CM.According to KC Garg, the federation secretary, “Lack of infrastructure and bad distribution of electricity are the main problems that the MSEDCL often quotes whenever we approach it. We have complained to the officers so often that now we are tired and are hoping to hear some permanent solutions to our problem.”A number of expensive electronic gadgets, such as fridges, washing machines and television sets, have been damaged due to the power fluctuations. Power cuts, such as the one on July 18 where the area went without power for 30 hours, also led to severe hardships leading to water shortages.According to the officials, Wakad area gets 22 kV while the rest of PCMC is set up with 11 kV infrastructure, known to be the best infrastructure. We have less manpower to work on the ground and it is a large area to cover. We are trying our best to work out a solution,” Shivaji Waifalkar, executive engineer, MSEDCL.The problem relates to the old 22 kV (kilo volt) lines used in the area which suffer breakdowns due to moisture instead of 11 kV lines.“To avoid the moisture problem, we have already installed 17 RMU (Ring Main Unit) and will install 30 more in upcoming days,” said Prakash Naiknavare, assistant engineer, MSEB, when the area suffered one of its worst power outages in July.MSEDCL officials have said that a substation needs to be set up in Thergaon for which 1,200 square metres is required. A plot on Survey no 4/23 has also been identified and an application has been given to the Pimpri-Chinchwad new township development authority (PCNDTA) for the plot. “The sooner the PCNDTA /PMRDA sanctions the plot and hands it over to the MSEDCL the quicker the issue of electricity outages in Chinchwad areas can be solved,” an official from MSEDCL said.Residents are hopeful that the problem of power outages will be addressed in the coming months as the heat towards the next general elections builds up.