S. Sundar

They rise very early to finish chores while power lasts

MADURAI: People in some parts of the city were unusually overjoyed on Monday. Reason: there was no power shutdown either at midnight or in the early morning! Some were surprised, and many could not hide the glee over uninterrupted power supply for 24 hours at a stretch.

The absence of load shedding has only electrified the festive mood. Will this trend continue? Will the authorities be able to drive away darkness, literally, during the Festival of Lights? These are some of the doubts lingering in the mind of all residents.

An official from the Tamil Nadu Electricity Board attributed the improved situation to incessant rain (that makes farmers to depend less on motors to pump water) and strict implementation of peak hour power restriction on high tension consumers.

Power shutdown has qualified as a hot topic of discussion for men and women at offices, bus stops, salons and other public places. Because it spared none. Students’ study time is disturbed. It throws kitchen chores of homemakers out of gear. And it has ruined the sleep of all. Women did not get an opportunity to de-frost their refrigerators in recent times as three-time-a-day load shedding never allowed the freezer compartments to gather frost at all.

“Power goes off between 9 p.m. and 10.30 p.m. We could hardly sleep, as anxiety takes over with the very thought of early morning power cut. Women are forced to get up at 4 a.m. as electricity will go off between 6 a.m. and 10 a.m. They have to prepare breakfast and lunch for school and office goers,” says R. Narayanasamy of Surveyor Colony.

Power shutdown puts a stop to deep slumber, people forgo their favourite chutneys and sometimes make do with little water for the morning chores, complains another. People are also seen carrying chargers to recharge their mobiles at offices.

Those in extension areas do not even keep the windows open for fear of mosquitoes and reptiles, least to mention the threat from anti-social elements. As the liquidator (mosquito repellent) fails with power cut, people rummage for the coil repellent to escape from mosquito bite.

“Smoke does cause suffocation. Doctors say that it is not good for the children; hence we’ve started using mosquito net,” says Visukumar of S.S. Colony. He has shelled out Rs. 1,650 for an unbranded emergency fan (that runs on battery) to prevent his son from waking up.

New inequalities

Load shedding has also created new kinds of inequalities, the urban-rural and haves and have-nots divides. People in villages suffer for longer durations without electricity. Those who put up with darkness and mosquitoes watch with envy those with back-up power system. Even in urban areas, some areas manage to get uninterrupted power supply.

The only ray of hope to the city residents is that the TNEB has planned for a maximum relief from power cuts to domestic consumers.