As the city of Chennai suffers from power outage in the aftermath of powerful Cyclone Vardah, with most of the power lines snapped in the suburbs and areas plunged into darkness for past four days, genset suppliers are charging their consumers exorbitantly, adding to the woes. With broken electricity polls and snapped overhead lines, it is difficult to restore power in the suburban areas.
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Due to huge demand of generators, the city denizens are desperately waiting for their turn to get gensets on rent, as their rates soar high with each passing day. The power situation in the main areas of the city has improved to a great extent.
According to officials, about 10,000 staff drawn from various parts of Tamil Nadu are being deployed to fully restore the electricity infrastructure, especially in the hinterlands of Chennai.
Normally, the genset rentals for short domestic emergencies are at around Rs 800-Rs 1000 per hour, but since the last two days, the huge spike in demand in the power hit areas has led to their rates soaring to around Rs 1200-2000 per hour, vendors said.
In suburban areas like Chromepet, Tambaram and Medavakkam among others, there has been a ‘steep increase’ in the demand for mini generators, they said.
“We have received a lot of queries since Wednesday morning and the demand for gensets has gone up manifold since yesterday as many homes have run out of water,” R Ramesh, a trader at Tambaram said.
The harried residents in these areas are looking forward to use the gensets wherever available for filling their overhead water tanks and recharging mobile phones and electric inverters.
Ramesh said though efforts were on to reach out to as many people as possible, the number of available machines was limited and “we are not able to procure more numbers in such a short span.”
In some places, the vendors are requesting the consumers to leave their addresses behind to inform them about the period of availability.
S Veeraraghavan, a resident of Chrompet, said he was unable to rent a genset despite making queries with a number of shops dealing in these machines.
“All of them said that they have already rented them out”, he said.
Government sources in the affected areas said resumption of power supply could take a day or two more as many lines had snapped and a large number of polls had been damaged.
Uprooted trees had also fallen on power lines, making the job harder for the authorities. Cyclone ‘Vardah’ which crossed the coast on December 12 near here has particularly affected the suburban parts that are facing a severe power problem.