Precarious power situation leaves those on oxygen on tenterhooks

The power supply in Karnataka, more so in capital Bengaluru, has been constant fodder for humour; its unreliability inspiring memes and witty one-liners. This increased last year when lakhs of employees were forced to work from home and were at their wits end whenever there were unscheduled power outages. But now, it’s more than just a minor inconvenience.

With the State government admitting that a ferocious second wave of COVID-19 has seen an unprecedented number of people dependent on oxygen, intermittent power supply has led to people appealing to Bangalore Electricity Supply Company (Bescom) and sending out SOS messages on Twitter.

On Tuesday, a resident tweeted that while he experienced power failure at 6 p.m., he was able to connect to customer care only by 4 a.m. on Wednesday. “It is pathetic. Bescom should understand that there are many homes which may need power for medical support reasons during covid,” he tweeted.

A resident of Indiranagar also appealed to Bescom on social media as he had a patient at home who was dependent on an oxygen concentrator.

There have been many such calls to attend to repairs with urgency, especially among people who are dependent on oxygen. In frustration, people are reaching out to MPs and MLAs for help. A resident of Bilekahalli urged the government to sensitise Bescom about this. “It’s a request not to stop power supply as there are people with oxygen concentrators and it is a very very risky situation,” said one Twitter user.

Earlier this month, COVID-19 patients in some areas of Subramanyanagar had a harrowing time after a 90-minute power outage.

While most people appeared to have received responses on Twitter, ever since the Bescom helpline number 1912 was deployed to be used for COVID-19, there have been complaints of difficulty in getting through with regard to power issues. Now, with rains already setting in and the countdown to the monsoon beginning, people are seeking a resolution.

A resident of Whitefield took to Twitter to complain about the lack of response from the helpline despite a 12-hour power cut. “I tried to contact BESCOM1912 customer care but I didn’t get any response. May I know the reason why it’s happening?” he asked.

While Bescom managing director M.B. Rajesh Gowda was unavailable for comment, another senior Bescom official defended the grievance redressal system, saying the 1912 helpline was only jammed in case of heavy rain.

“The line may get jammed because of the rain. But the calls are transferred to the respective zones. COVID-19 duties are not affecting the helpline functioning as 60 people are taking calls for COVID-19 and 30 for Bescom,” said the official, adding that people could reach out to Bescom on other avenues such as social media or SMS.

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Printable version | Jul 24, 2021 2:27:18 PM |

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