Thursday, June 17, 2010

Fed Up of Power Cut: Blame Ongoing 2010 Games Work

Power cuts have become a regular affair this summer. However, this time the situation is not just a result of overdrawing by neighboring states. As part of the Games preparations, the capital’s power transmission utility Delhi Transco has been shutting several important electricity lines for civic agencies to carry out work over the past two months. With this, even available power has not been able to reach several households in peak summer.

On Wednesday, too, south Delhi was hit by several outages. Vasant Kunj residents were for a second consecutive day without power for up to six hours. ‘‘On Tuesday, we had no power for 10 hours. On Wednesday again power went off at noon and was restored only late in the evening,’’ said Amit Aggarwal, a member of the RWA. These outages, say sources, were probably a result of Transco’s shutdown of the Mehrauli-Bamnauli transmission line to erect a transmission tower near Rajokari flyover for better power supply to IGI Airport. This is not the first instance when Games-related work has led to closure of transmission lines this summer.

Earlier, the 220kV Maharani Bagh-Lodi Road line was first shut in February/March for about 10 days and again from April 9 to April 28. This shutdown was necessitated by ongoing work on Barapullah Nullah. In May, Transco shut the crucial 220kV Badarpur-Okhla line almost for the entire month, this time for DMRC. Transco said it had to increase the height of a tower near Sarita Vihar to allow the Metro a better passage. One more transmission line was shut by Transco near Rajghat power house for tower work this summer.

Moreover, transmission lines have also been hit by several technical snags. On Wednesday, power in south Delhi colonies was further affected when one of the Badarpur-Mehrauli lines tripped. The forest department was pruning some trees in the area and a few branches fell on the line. The line could be restored only by evening and south Delhi areas witnessed outages on a rotational basis, said discom sources.

Though power sector experts agree that shutdown of these lines was essential keeping in mind the Games related work in the city, they added that the timing of the shutdown could have been more consumer-friendly. ‘‘Shutting critical lines in peak summers always leads to a disaster. These could have been shut earlier in the year when demand was not so high,’’ said an expert. Delhi Transco, however, said that the transmission line was not shut on their account. ‘‘The Maharani Bagh-Lodi Road line was closed for the PWD, Badarpur-Okhla line for Delhi Metro and Mehrauli-Bamnauli line for IGI Airport. We closed the transmission lines as per their request to facilitate ongoing work in the area. They needed it for development work,’’ said a Transco spokesperson.