Sunday, December 27, 2009

Dark 2010 stares city in the face

Dark 2010 stares city in the face

Frequent and unscheduled disruptions in power supply dampened the weekend mood in several areas of Bangalore

Senthalir S. Bangalore



Sheryl Thomas, a resident of Mahalakshmi Layout, was yearning for a merry Christmas this time. But even before the day wore on, frequent power cuts marred her hopes for the special day.
"Everything went haywire on Christmas Day due to erratic power cuts. Earlier we used to have one-hour power cuts. But Friday, was like a doomsday. Every half an hour power went off. With several guests in my home, it was a nightmare," she said. Sheryl's experience was not unique to Mahalakshmi Layout. The story was the same in several areas across the city including Jayanagar.
In fact, power continued to play truant across the city on Saturday too. This was in areas besides those where there was a declared power supply disruption due to maintenance work. Nandini Layout, Ramamurthy Nagar and adjoining areas witnessed frequent power disruptions.
The power cut on Friday and Saturday appeared unusual as the holiday season would have ensured a drop in demand.
Top BESCOM officials, however, claimed ignorance of the unscheduled power cuts. When questioned about the details of the areas affected, they sought to shift the onus of replying on other jurisdictional officers who were not available for their reactions.
Experts felt that there was a definite design in the increasing instances of frequent power cuts and said that the power situation would only worsen. They said an artificial scarcity would help the government to go in for short-term purchase of power at exorbitant rates for which no permission from the regulator, Karnataka Energy Regulatory Commission (KERC), was required.
A chastened, Sheryl said she was hoping against hope that 2010 at least would not have dark patches.
Paul Abraham, another resident of Mahalakshmi Layout, too lamented the way BESCOM ruined his weekend. "The government should ensure that the power supply is not erratic at least on festival days. At least there should have been a planned power cut or loadshedding and the residents should have been informed about it. We need to know when the power will be cut and when it will resume. The basic information should be provided to the public. The way the present system functions is just not right," said Paul.
The unscheduled power cuts destroyed the Yuletide spirit in Paul's home. "We were disappointed and only hope this does not recur during New Year celebrations. We want the New Year to dawn on a bright note," he added.
"The crisis seems to be an artificial creation. I feel the BESCOM has enhanced the duration of loadshedding. The water supply was also affected due to power cuts. The BESCOM had announced that power supply will resume at 5pm. But we got power only after 6pm," said an irate Padmanabhan S, a resident of Girinagar.
Nagaraj Shetty, a resident of Jayanagar 1st block, said that the examination season is fast approaching and the erratic power cuts would affect children's studies.
"The government should ensure that they provide uninterrupted power supply. The electricity supply company should take up maintenance work only on holidays. We could not execute our work properly on Saturday due to power cuts. But cutting off power supply on a working day like Saturday would be difficult for the workers," said Padmanabhan.
Swapna Belur from Nagendra Block said: "The exams are fast approaching and power cuts will definitely affect our studies. The government should ensure that the students don't suffer much."
BESCOM managing director Tushar Girinath said the shutdown in most parts of Bangalore on Saturday was due to maintenance work alone. Another senior BESCOM officer claimed that there is only one-hour loadshedding every day as had been announced earlier. "There is no scarcity of power," he said.

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