July 3, 2021 4:58:07 am
Chandigarh, which is often praised as one of the top-most Smart Cities in the country, has been struggling to provide its residents with the basic amenity of uninterrupted supply of electricity. Many sectors of the City Beautiful have been reeling under long power cuts for the last two days- with the southern sectors suffering the most. The situation has been especially harrowing for the students and people working from home, as the power cuts disables the WiFi connections, leaving them in the lurch.
For the past four days, Sector 40 has been facing power cut for 8 to 12 hours every day, while Sector 49 was rendered without any electricity supply from 11 pm on Thursday night till Friday evening. A majority of these sectors, including the PU campus, and sectors 27, 28, 33, 37,42,43,40 and 18 have been facing power cuts from 11 pm to 3 am, while some do not get electricity at all during the night-time.
In sector 23 C, power supply is being cut from 10 pm to 12 am every day for the past five days.
Former Vice President of Sector 49 CHB Flats Resident Welfare Association, Jitender Mehta said, “Residents faced a lot of inconvenience due to power cuts since 11 pm on Thursday night till around 11 am on Friday. Even after various attempts to register our complaints with the UT Electricity department, we only found their phone number not reachable. We are still facing unannounced power cuts since morning. It is creating a lot of difficulty as the students’ classes are going on.”
Vinod Vashisht, Convener of City Forum of Residents Welfare Organizations, said that residents from sectors 17, 18, 22, 23, 25 PU, 27, 28, 33, 33, 35, 37, 40, 42, 43, 44, 45, 46, 48, 49 and 51 are also reporting frequent power cuts for the last couple of days. “People have virtually lost the count of these power interruptions, which are most of the times for short duration. Helplines are always busy. Seems like Punjab’s power crisis and excessive heat wave for the past few days have hit the power supply demand here as well,” Vashisht said.
BB Puri, executive member of Labour Bureau Society, said that the situation is bad in the housing societiestoo. “Frequent power failure were experienced in the night in most of group housing societies. And this has been happening often these days – May be there is overload on the installed capacity,” Puri said.
Speaking to The Indian Express, UT Chief Engineer CB Ojha confirmed that there were issues in the power supply in Chandigarh because of the crisis in Punjab. “We get electricity supply from Punjab as well and due to power paucity there, we had less supply. It had a direct bearing on Chandigarh’s power situation too. But the situation is better since Friday evening. Power peak reached only 404 MW on Friday, while last year it had gone to 435 MW,” he said. The power peak had hit 404 MW in Chandigarh on Thursday.
Another senior official of the UT Electricity department, on condition of anonymity, said that frequent outages in the city are also caused by the overload, as the residents have installed more electrical appliances, while still using a basic electricity meter. “For instance, a resident takes the electricity meter of 3 watt originally but now, instead of using one or two ACs they have installed four air conditioners and they have not even notified us about this, so at least we could upgrade the system. Now, in sectors like Manimajra and the southern sectors, people have not declared about the additional ACs installed at their residence and have even given floors on rent who have further installed more air conditioners and coolers, so it will automatically have an impact on the system. The lines that were set up to take basic load will definitely break down,” the official said.
He further added, “The problem has been taking place mostly in the night hours because that is the time when all the air conditioners and coolers are switched on and thus, there is additional load on our system. People do not declare or get their meter upgraded when the additional air conditioners are installed.”
Helplines always ‘busy’
The UT residents claimed that the helpline numbers of the UT Electricity department were not being picked by the department officials at the time of the power cuts. They said the department did not communicate about the issues too.
A resident, who claimed to have called the Electricty department helpline 60 times, said that he only wanted to know when the power will be restored, but his calls went unattended.
Residents have also been tweeting to UT Administrator VP Singh Badnore regarding the issue.
No power generating source in UT
The UT Electricity department does not have its own power generation source. Thus, it purchases power from central generating stations such as National Thermal Power Corporation Limited (NTPC), National Hydroelectric Power Corporation (NHPC), Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL), Bhakra Beas Management Board (BBMB), Satluj Jal Vidyut Nigam (SJVN) and Tehri Hydro Development Corporation Ltd (THDC).
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