Imagine this. The summer sun is beating down hard and the last thing you want to do is step out in the open. A fan on the ceiling or an airconditioner blows away any remnants of the heat. Just then, the electricity goes off. Tough luck isn't it?
Rediff.com had asked its readers to tell us about the problems how they are coping with power cuts at a time when severe heat wave prevails across the country. Here are few of the responses.
Send us your electricity woes to firstname.lastname@example.org and we will publish them.
I am a resident of sector 21, Panchkula, Haryana. Here the condition of electric power supply is too poor. There are long power cuts in the city. Though the power cuts are not pleasing we face a bigger problem. In our area, the transformer is defected. There is lot of fluctuation in the power supply.
The fluctuation is to such an extent that the voltage fluctuates from 240V to 140V within a minute. Due to this the air coolers, ACs, computer, and all other electrical appliances don't work properly. Due to this the electrical appliances also get damaged.
This problem has been there from past 3-4 years. Repeated submission of the complaint our request to the officials to look into this matter and solve this problem has bore no fruit.
Why talk about power cut woes? Talk about how we can influence the authorities to ensure we get power and water.
1. Turn off the lighting for Billboards after 9pm or make them Solar powered
2. Use alternate street lights
3. Encourage school children by giving brownie points if they help to reduce electricity bills at home. Kids are the best implementers, if they are convinced
4. Encourage/penalise residents who have lights on in their gardens
5. Educate, Educate, Educate
6. Give subsidy to Solar panel manufacturers instead of free power
7. LET THE GOVERNMENT BE THE ROLE MODEL
There are several things one can do. I shall tell you all of some of the things I do to beat the heat when the fans are not working and other tips for everyday life behaviour when the electricity decides to play truant.
First, it would be prudent to have a generator or back up for important and essential electricity gadgets, like computer work, lift in an apartment, etc. If one cannot have access to a generator or back up, one should be prepared in small ways. For example, when there is electricity, I see that my radio, which has an emergency light, are charged so that if the electricity does fail, I know I can still use them, the radio for listening to news and the emergency light for light. Candles are nice only if one has an option! I mean candlelight dinners sound heavenly and romantic, only if one has a choice! Otherwise, I would any day prefer eating my meals at a well lit up dining room!
In summers, the mercury soars and the room becomes stuffy, torrid and sultry and then to top it all the power fails, too, rendering one without fans. I choose to head to my balcony to get the bracing breeze provided by the swaying of trees' branches just outside. Makeshift fans dry up one's sweat. I head indoors the moment the power cut is over and there is access to electric fans.
What else? Luckily, we are not living in the 1970s and 1980s when one had to necessarily resort to electric ovens. With gas, there is no problem even if the current fails. The same with telephone since it utilizes a different connection. The mailman, maid and newspaper boy will just have to use the knock with your finger tactic until the truant `electricity' returns. Yes, it definitely is not `electricity' but as I said earlier `neglect-the-city'!
Power cuts in India is not a new problem. I'm used to it since my child hood. When we were kids, we used to enjoy power cuts. We would love to play with the shadows on the walls formed by the kerosene lantern & the candle. Whenevr there is a power cut, our family goes for a long walk and sits on the terrace discussing family issues...
In this era of fast paced life with high-income people opting for inverters, I believe the present generation children are deprived of those memories that we cherish. A moon light dinner / talk with all of them on the terrace in the cool breeze is something that I love even today. We even today have a nice sip of coffee and take a long walk. We are never bothered for a power cut at night, but welcome it with a smile. The best part is, we are not addicted to TV soaps. :-)
Try to use natural resources as much as possible. Try to get used to natural daily lives like the tribals, then you would not need artificial lights. Use sunlight as much as you can; try to use natural wind for cooling down in hot summer. Try to eat natural foods and that is the most important thing. Lastly, do not try to change your habit to western lives when your country does not have western infrastructure.
The tiny place where I stay is called Murarai in West Bengal. The main connector of Murarai to the rest of India, along the Rail track is power cuts and low voltage. The day breaks with no fan or pump to store water.
The sweltering humidity, sometimes crossing 75 per cent, makes me think that we are stuffed in a pressure cooker. Out comes the extra salt and sugar to make a ORS drink, to replenish the salt lost through the sweat, which is excreted without any effort. The endless battle with power cut is more mental than physical.
The thought of passing another hot and humid day without the air cooler and or even the fan makes one go mad. The lack of water also makes one madder. The day progresses without much power, and the sweat continuously pours out of our pores...
I am a resident of Sitapur, Uttar Pradesh. We get electricity for hardly 8-10 hours a day. Power cut is the major problem these days and the situation has been worsening every year.
The government should analyse the growing need of power and prepare themselves accordingly; more power plants should be established rather than statues and all that nonsense which is going on in my state, power corportion should be privatised to counter ill effects of corruption.
Mahesh Gopal Shanbhag
1.No hoardings & advertisement lights. The advertiser, if they want, can use solar panels to illuminate their ads.
2.All streetlights to be converted into solar panel lights. Till the conversion, keep alternative streetlights on at night.
3.Wherever possible encourage solar lighting systems for domestic (fans & lights) & commercial use (hotels, offices, govt offices)
4.Work during daytime wherever possible, when sunlight is available in plenty, if required start offices early (7am to 6pm)
5.Let shops, malls open early & close early (8am-8pm)
6.Let all sports activity be during daytime rather than day & night.
7.Early to be bed & early to rise. May be a Stone Age formula, but during such power crisis should hold good.
May be we will have to change our lifestyle a bit.
8.No cinemas, dramas, public functions & shows after 7pm.
9.Five star hotels should use their own generators to the max.
May be initially, it will restrict all our activities more towards daytime & less after sunset. We have no alternative at present, unless we are able to generate more power in our country. This power crisis will also teach us a new lesson how to survive and manage our life with minimum power consumption & maximum use of natural sunlight.
Raja Pratap Singh
I hail from Sitapur, a town near to Lucknow. In 80 per cent Lucknow, there is power cut for hardly 1-2 hours where as in my town electricity supply is there for rarely 8-10 hours
Power cut takes place in my town from 4 am-10 am, 11.30 am -1.30 pm, 3 pm-8 pm, 9.30 pm-10.30 pm. It is even cut in times when there is power supply.
I sleep outside my house in veranda (porch) to avoid power cut in the night. In the day, I try to engage myself into work so much that I don't remember how hard the climate is and there is no support regarding electricity in the evening. I try to remain outside with my friends till the light comes
Photo: Munish Byala/Reuters