The long delay in repairing power fault lines has added to the woes of residents already grappling with inflated bills owing to tariff hike.
There are frequent power breakdown each time any weather disturbance is reported in the city and hours spent in restoring the power.
While it only took a dust-storm to compel the Uttar Haryana Bijli Vittaran Nigam (UHBVN) officials to shut down the power supply in most of the sectors here on Thursday, the residents point out the larger problem is the delay in repairing the fault lines.
“It is not once, but has happened so many times before. The power is affected with mild disturbance in weather and then it takes hours to repair them. Even, in other cases, when we make complaints regarding electricity, workers do not reach on time to repair it. We are often told that there is inadequate staff, but the issue has been ignored since long. The complaints are piled up and people keep waiting,” said Rakesh Aggarwal, president, Resident Welfare Association.
The officials claimed that their staff strength is complete, in terms of sanctioned posts. However the sanctioned posts are inadequate to meet the present demands.
“Our staff is complete according to the sanctioned posts. But the sanctioned strength is inadequate and has not been revised since decades. The number of electricity connections have doubled in decades, the consumers are increasing and so are the complaints. But the number of employees has not been increased,” said executive engineer (EXN), UHBVN, Mukesh Chauhan.
The officials argue that with the present staff strength, they cannot restore power at a rate, expected by residents. “Our JE and linemen will go to one power feeder at a time to restore power and there are 44 power feeders. So it takes time. There are not enough linemen as we require to ensure speedy restoration of power. On Thursday, we were able to restore by night,” said S K Goel, the sub-divisional officer sub-urban.
At present, there are over 40,000 power connections in the sub-urban division comprising Sectors 1,2,3,4,5,6,11,12,13,14 and 20 onwards, while 32,000 in the city division comprising Mansa Devi Complex (MDC) and other sectors.
The officials highlight that there is a recorded increase of 1,500 power connections on an average each year, adding to the workload.
At present there are around 44 power feeders in the town.
Each of the two sub-divisional officers (SDOs) in Panchkula, one each for sub-urban division and city, have around four junior engineers, further assisted by linemen on ground duty, with total strength of 84, including the office staff.
The issue of revising the strength of staff has been flagged several times in the past with Resident Welfare Associations submitting memorandums to higher officials, but to no avail. The problem persists.