With no respite from erratic power supply people take to streets
The 2012 summer has been miserable for residents of the city and its suburbs. Not only did the city witness mercury levels soar over and above the normal, the erratic power supply has also been causing several problems.
While residents heaved a huge sigh of relief after the daily four-time power cuts were brought down to two hours a day and subsequently to one hour a day, problems do persist in many pockets in the southern suburbs.
Officials and engineers of Tamil Nadu Generation and Distribution Corporation (TANGEDCO) have been inundated with calls from residents about unannounced power disruptions for a couple of hours a day and voltage fluctuations and low voltage problem that make it nearly impossible to run any household gadget.
Like every year during the peak summer, people have taken to streets protesting the disruption in power supply at night, which is robbing them of a sound sleep. Sporadic protests have erupted in places, especially the tail-end areas of Adambakkam, Chitlapakkam and Chromepet.
For instance, residents of a few localities in Nagalkeni have been complaining a lot for the past two months. Even after TANGEDCO's announcement of only an hour-long power cut, residents have been suffering a lot.
The reason: a faulty transformer. The transformer on Jayaraman Street in Gandhi Nagar that comes within Ward No. 16 of Pammal Municipality breaks down so often that the supply is disrupted 10 to 15 times a day.
Residents told The Hindu Downtown that they were on the verge of losing their patience and that would soon take to the streets.
Residents, especially women, said that only a few streets in the locality had this issue. The transformer had developed problems a few weeks ago and was attended to. But it was hardly of any help as power disruptions continued to be the order of the day.
According to the women residents, power supply is disrupted for as brief as 10 minutes to as long as a couple of hours. “We do not even know when the scheduled one hour daily power cut in our locality is,” the women said.
There has been a significant improvement in the overall power supply with the construction of many 110/11 and 33/11 kv sub-stations in the southern suburbs of Chennai. However, in many pockets in the tail end areas, there is hardly any improvement, according to residents, who firmly believe that maintenance of transformers was not given as much importance as it ought to have been.
Residents living beyond Perungalathur such as Vandalur, Urapakkam and Guduvanchery face a power disruption of more than seven hours a day. So, they consider those living in the limits till Tambaram as lucky. Engineers of TANGEDCO attributed the problems to the steep additional demand in the evening hours with residents switching on air-conditioners, thereby increasing the load on the installations.
Stating that it was just a matter of time before the situation was tided over, engineers said that for the past three months nearly all staff of TANGEDCO were working overtime to ensure that disruptions are kept to the barest minimum.
But for a few instances of staff not responding to calls, most complaints were attended to and set right immediately.
Work on a few sub-stations was in progress and once completed, there would be further improvement in the situation, the officials reassured.