Powerless Uncertainity

After nearly 4 years in Chennai – it would be so easy to get misty eyed whenever I think of Bangalore. However, my recent & regular visits confirm the on-the-ground situation that one reads: infrastructure sucks, potholed roads abound, public transport is overcrowded, traffic jams are bound to raise one’s blood pressure, water supply is erratic while being rationed…blah,blah, blah!

But if there’s one thing that I or for that matter, any newcomer to Bangalore should dread, especially with the oncoming summer, it would be that – shudder – experience, very euphemistically and colorfully called – loadshedding!

Technically, this is a synonym for ‘power outages’. Electricity (or, power) for that matter is a basic utility and something that is taken for granted in many parts of the world. For many, a power outage would be impossible to imagine and most likely, in the realm of nightmares.

What’s worse to imagine is that in a city like Bangalore – sometimes called Silicon City, this basic necessity is perennially in short supply. It just worsens during summers.

On one hand, BESCOM, the state owned power distribution company finds that consumers are increasing year on year while on the other, the supply side just doesn’t seem to match. Result? Load shedding aka power cuts.

The other shocking thing is that the charges for power are invariably hiked year on year. Early on, one was given to understand that it was done to ensure parity with other states, to meet costs etc. Nowadays, one has to just swallow it, whether you like it or now. Pity you, if you can’t take it.

I reckon nobody really knows the problem and how to handle it. Should it be to increase supply? Where’s the money for investments in new power plants, asks the state. Should it be reduce demand? That’s impossible considering the number of immigrants into Bangalore as well as the industries coming up. The dilemma is that while the government is encouraging new industries, it does not seem to have thought about the consequent demand on water, power, roads etc. Thankfully, many of the I.T companies have their own captive power plants i.e gensets. One can only imagine the scenario if they did not. Also luckily, power theft is not a major problem like, for instance, in Delhi where it is estimated that 40% of power generated is stolen. Here, transmission & distribution losses are under control. (or so the powers-that-be tell us!) No bad debts, either. Is outmoded technology the problem? Someone tell us.

Lastly, I think the problem would be more bearable if a schedule for the outages are declared well ahead…at least, people would be prepared. In a majority of the cases, the cuts are unscheduled leaving many sweltering in the heat. Not to mention, fuming. All this pent-up fury would be enough to fire another power plant, methinks! So whats the solution? Only god knows……

Meanwhile, the ‘loadsheddings’ continue….


Thanks to Usha for additional inputs.

4 Comments so far

  1. WA (unregistered) on April 17th, 2006 @ 12:45 pm

    Ravi, isn’t loadshedding caused in India largely as a result of people tapping electricity illegally which makes it difficult for the electricity board to work out the demand making pre planning almost impossible?

  2. Ravi (unregistered) on April 17th, 2006 @ 1:28 pm

    So good to see you here!
    While that may be true to some extent, perhaps, in rural and semi-urban places, I shudder to think of that as the REASON why in Bangalore, of all places, they are unable to estimate demand!

  3. randramble (unregistered) on April 18th, 2006 @ 5:18 am

    Where in Bangalore is water being rationed? That was news to me…

  4. Libran Lover (unregistered) on April 19th, 2006 @ 6:33 am

    On a tangential note: I thought Metro Blogging requires you to be a resident of the city about which you blog. How is it that you stay in Chennai and get to blog about Bangalore? Did you slip through their quality control? :-)

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