AC, inverter service industry feels the lockdown heat, suffers losses

Businessmen, electricians miss out on seasonal peak

Small businesses and electricians who service and repair air conditioners and inverters in the National Capital Region say they are missing out on their most productive months at the onset of summer due to the ongoing lockdown.

No profit

While businesses across the board are suffering due to the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown from March 25 till May 3, those relying on the seasonal business of servicing, repairing and installing ACs, air coolers and power inverters say they may have to wait till spring 2021 for business to bounce back.

Pawan Sharma, who runs SR Engineers in Dilshad Garden, an AC and inverter servicing business with customers in Delhi, Gurugram and Ghaziabad, says he usually starts getting calls for AC servicing at the end of February and by the end of March, these service requests are completed. In April, he says, business mostly comes from installing new ACs. The early months of summer usually net him ₹60,000 to ₹1 lakh in profit, he said.

“This year, income is zero. We don’t know if the lockdown will be extended, but even if we are allowed to start work in May or June, we will have trouble getting workers. I’ve been getting calls from regular customers. People are stuck at home so they need ACs. One customer called saying he wanted to instal an inverter because he is working from home and can’t afford to have power cuts, but I had to tell him to wait till May 3,” said Mr. Sharma.

Satpal Singh, a Ghaziabad resident who runs an AC repair business with his brother in Noida, says he is staring at an uncertain future as his shop has been shut since March 20. “Our work for the year had not even started when we had to close. During the winter, my brother and I do odd electrical jobs. Most of our earnings come from the AC repair and renting business in April and May. We don’t have much work the rest of the year,” he said.

Inverter batteries

Those selling and servicing inverter batteries have also been hit by the lockdown at a time that usually accounts for the bulk of their annual business.

Kapil Ahuja, who runs Sunita Auto-Electrical Batteries in Noida Sector-9, says about 50% of his annual turnover would have been done by now, if not for the lockdown. Sales and service requests for inverter and car batteries as well as voltage stabilisers for ACs peak in March and April, he said.

“By now, 50% of our business would have been done. People may be able to survive without ACs, but not without inverters,” he said.

As the lockdown began, Mr. Ahuja says he received an urgent request for repair from a customer who has installed a dedicated inverter for uninterrupted power supply for the room of a patient dependent on an oxygen machine. “I had to rush to their home at 11 p.m. because the inverter was needed for survival of the patient,” he said.

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Printable version | Jul 8, 2020 5:10:01 AM |

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