It is really hurting us and no one seems to have a clue about what is happening. My dealers are not lifting as much stocks. I can’t blame them as how will they store the ice cream. I have had to reduce production. Considering the weather we should have been selling so much more. But even if I manage to run the generator and produce all that ice cream, I have no place to sell it. How will we compete with neighbouring states that have no power situation, when we can’t even manufacture the product? What will the mid-level small scale industries like mine do? How are we going to pay the Deepavali bonus? I am worried.
We used captive power only as a stand by. Now, 75 per cent of the time the plant is running on captive power.
CEO, Suvai Ice Cream
I feel bad because I can’t show kids small films that they love. Sometimes the power goes off half way and the children are so disappointed. If there is a scheduled cut, I can plan, but we never know when the power will go, or return. With a play school and so many children, we need a regular supply of water. How do I pump up the water? Every time the power is restored, I have to climb up two storeys to check the levels. I have had to spend money on upgrading my inverter to a larger capacity. Because I could never find the time to recharge it. I had to pay Rs 7,000 to do that. And it frustrates me that my electricity bill now is twice as much as it used to be, for half the amount of power! What used to be minor irritants are now coming in the way of normal living.
Correspondent, Shivani Pre-school, Raja Nagar
My production time starts at 6 a.m. and goes on till 2 p.m. Sometimes, power goes off even at 7 a.m. and no one knows when it will return. My company is mechanised. From grinding to mixing to squeezing out the sevai, I need electricity for everything. I end up using the generator extensively. It hits my margins. Added to this are inflated electricity bills and the hike in the cost of raw material. But, I can’t raise prices. Who will buy my products? I wonder if I am making any profit at all, but I can’t leave the business half-way. I have had to cut down my production because I can’t deliver to the stores on time.
From nearly 250 kg of sevai a day, I now make hardly 170 kg. I used to make about 300 kg of idli maavu. Not any more.
Nandini Foods, Lakshmi Nagar, Kuniamuthur
I have 10 machines in my tailoring unit. We can’t iron, cut, stitch clothes, hem or put in buttonholes without electricity. The unit functions from 9.30 a.m. to 7.30 p.m. In this period, power goes off anywhere between five and eight hours. Though the machines work on the generator, they run at half the speed they would had they been working on regular electricity. My delivery deadlines have gone haywire. There’s hardly any profit after paying for the additional fuel charges.
We use up at least three to four litres of kerosene, each costing above Rs. 60 a litre, every day for the generator.
Chitra Tailors, Trichy Road
It has become very difficult to take orders. We can’t make a promise to deliver something at a particular time. Sometimes, the power goes halfway through baking. Even if we switch on the generator, the temperature fluctuates and the taste and texture of the cake changes. We’ve had to throw away quite a few cakes because of this. So much raw material goes waste.
Our fuel costs have increased. If there’s a party order, we work only on the generators, unwilling to take a risk. This cuts into our margins. And, considering that we are a small unit and have just begun operations, it’s all too much to handle.
Earlier, we would happily accept impromptu requests for surprise cakes. We just can’t do that anymore.
Mythili Krishna and Surabhi Satyanarayan
Partners, Yummy Genie
My work demands that I be on the computer from 9.30 a.m. to 2.30. p.m. I have an UPS that has a power back up of two and a half hours. But, with the kind of power cuts we face, that’s nowhere enough to allow me to work uninterrupted. Where’s the time to recharge the UPS? So, I end up waiting at home for the power to return so that I can upload finished files immediately. Everything else, including going on errands, takes the backseat.
In my field, we have a deadline for submitting files. Many times, I finish work before schedule, but am unable to upload it because the UPS has dried up too.
My two daughters leave home at 7.30 and I have to get their breakfast and lunch ready by then. Power usually goes off at 6. Sometimes, earlier. However early I wake up to cook, it is a daily struggle. Often, I just start grinding the chutney when power goes off. I can’t even grind idli batter in the usual quantities because it turns sour even if I leave it in the refrigerator. Boiling water in the heater is out of the question. So, I use the stove for that too. That cuts into my cooking time.
In the evenings, it’s a toss up between cooking dinner and teaching the kids. Teaching suffers.
My business has been badly affected. I need electricity for the hair-drier, steamer, ultrasonic facial, pedicure treatment, geyser…Initially, when I didn’t have a UPS in place, customers would get irritated if I asked them to come another day if there was no power during their appointed time. For how long can I keep asking them to come the next day? And once I installed a UPS, my electricity bills shot up. I now pay almost Rs.8,000 instead of the Rs.3,000 I used to pay. But I cannot increase costs for my services as it will affect my customers — I have been maintaining the same charges for the past five years.
I have tried to make alternative arrangements. For the geyser, we now use solar power. But, no matter what, my business suffers.
Proprietor, O Live Natural Beauty Clinic
I don’t have a UPS as of yet. So medicines in the refrigerator are at the risk of going bad. Insulin is the most susceptible to deterioration if there is a constant drop in temperature. I recently disposed of a few bottles of Insulin that went bad. I also refrigerate medicines for asthma, which are sensitive to changes in the temperature. Companies do not take back spoiled medicines. Because of the 15-hour power cuts, the refrigerator keeps breaking down often and I have to spend a lot of money to get it fixed. I have suffered a loss of Rs.10,000 over the past one and a half years alone. It’s all because of power-cuts.
Because of the 15-hour power cuts, the refrigerator keeps breaking down often and I have to spend a lot of money on repairs.
K. Vasantha Mohan,
I have short deadlines for my projects, and all my work is done online. To cope with the frequent power cuts, I have gone in for a dedicated inverter for my WiFi. I got myself a laptop too, so that I can continue my work when the desktop shuts down. I have also got extra data cards to handle emergency situations. On days, when there is a total shutdown for maintenance, I go to my mother’s place to finish work. I manage the routine power cuts with prior planning. Sometimes, I reason out with my clients and ask for an extended deadline.
I regularly charge my laptop whenever there is power. If you tend to become complacent, an entire day of productivity is lost.
Freelance French translator
We need about 200 litres of diesel to run the genset in our store. We need power to operate the freezer and the air conditioner, which keeps fruits and vegetables, especially greens, fresh. Dairy items are supplied at a particular time and have to be refrigerated immediately. Frozen non-vegetarian foods must have regular power supply.
Because of the frequent power cuts, the computers at our billing counters shut down and reboot. We spend extra on maintenance of computers and inverters. Be it agricultural or dairy produce, everyone has hiked prices, but we can’t pass on the increase to the customers, even though it hits our margins. If we could get diesel at a subsidised rate, it would help.
Every single day, we spend Rs. 8,776 extra on the generator.
Manager, Pazhamudir Nilayam, Government Arts College Road
These days, I spend more money than I make. Every single day, I spend Rs. 1,200 on diesel for the genset. Earlier, the genset had to be checked for maintenance only once in two months. Now, because it is overworked, I do it once in 20 days. A hotel needs power 24x7. We need to run the grinder, refrigerator, pump water and operate lights and fans. How can we manage?
Work in the kitchen starts at 4 a.m. and goes on till 9 p.m. We experience a minimum of 10 hours power cut during this time
G. Lakshmi Narayanan
Sri Lakshmi Vilas hotel, Podanur