The Power of Power

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Power cuts due to local faults add to citizens' woes

Smriti Kak Ramachandran

Frequent tripping of transformers, unattended local faults make matters worse

Discoms blame heat, high demand of power and the neighbouring States for overdrawal

NEW DELHI: From half past midnight to 11 on Saturday morning residents of Prasad Nagar in the Capital went without power. The reason was a local fault. Countless telephone calls and visits to the local BSES office were of no help.

"When the discom employee finally turned up for repair work at 8 a.m., he told us that we should be thankful that he came two hours before his shift officially begins. We spent the whole night without power and then we were asked to show gratitude that someone actually came two hours ahead of his schedule!" said Deven Kumar, a resident of Prasad Nagar.

Delhi's battle with the intense heat has been made worse by continuous power cuts. While the distribution companies continue to blame the heat, high demand and the neighbouring States for overdrawal, what has added to the residents' woes is the increasing frequency of local faults and the lack of staff to attend to them expeditiously.

"Every second day we hear that the transformer has tripped, the cables are burnt and the system is over loaded. Even when there is enough energy to draw, the local faults that remain unattended to for long ensure that we continue to suffer," complained Rinki Gosh, a resident of Malviya Nagar.

Echoing her views, Shanta Malik of Saket said: "On Tuesday when we went to report the local fault that had been unattended for far too long, we were shocked to see the entire staff had fled and there was no one to attend to our complaints."

Reacting to the complaints from consumers about the delay in fault rectification, an official of the Delhi Government's Power Department said: "There are guidelines that the discoms have to follow. The Delhi Electricity Supply Code and Performance Standards Regulations, 2007 clearly notes that discoms will have to pay the consumers if they fail to provide a particular service within the stipulated time frame. And rectifying local faults is a service that the discoms have to offer." The official said that the Department expressed concern in the past as well about the shortage of field staff. "It was brought to the Department's notice that the number of field staff is inadequate in some areas, which has affected the performance of the discoms and leaves consumers dissatisfied."

While the complaints against tardy services multiply, discoms claim that they have pulled out all stops to ensure speedy resolution of consumer grievances. "We have cancelled the leave of all stand-by staff and the field staff and the equipment have been put on high alert," said a spokesperson for NDPL.

Admitting that the frequency of local faults has increased, he said: "There is too much load on the system. The trippings have increased because of the overload and the sweltering heat contributes to the disruption in the system and faults in cables."

The Hindu, 28 June 09


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