Maintenance costs have increased by nearly 40 per cent because of the continuous use of generators or inverters
It was an uncommon sight at R.S. Puram, one of the busy commercial centres of Coimbatore city, at about 5.30 p.m. on Friday – instead of the bright lights, the shops had just a few CFLs (compact fluorescent lamps) switched on above the sales counters, the unwanted lights were off, and generators placed outside the outlets were turned on.
More than eight hours of power cut during day time across the city has hit the retail sector hard. Maintenance costs have increased by nearly 40 per cent because of the continuous use of generators or inverters and even the large-scale retailers who have annual maintenance contracts see the back-up plants failing frequently.
One of the leading textile retailers in the city says most of the outlets have moved over to CFL and LED lights. Generators are used for major part of the day and hence, electricity costs have increased by 30 per cent. Though the outlets try to cut down other costs, they may be forced to pass on the burden to the customers at some point of time. There are options such as solar power. However, the initial cost is high and this is discouraging the retailers from switching over to renewable energy.
An electronic gadget retailer says that the very purpose of having a showroom has been defeated since they are unable to demonstrate the products on display. Most of the showrooms are fully air-conditioned and are designed for continuous use of air-conditioners. Though they have inverter back up, it is not possible to use the alternative source for seven or eight hours and the employees find it difficult to work. The customers are not satisfied as they cannot the see the product functioning. Thus, the focus is on reducing costs on different fronts and managing business with minimum use of back-up power when there is no supply.
Keywords: retail sector