Power disruptions


Leader Writer: S HaobamPower disruptions in Manipur, following the infamous massive drive by the electricity department against consumers have highlighted an uncomfortable truth. So old and so fragile is much of Manipur’s power infrastructure that further blackouts will tend to occur more in the near future. That creates an equally problematic scenario centered on just how this should be tackled.
Power disruptions have a more thoroughgoing impact to the society and hampers civilisation. The rapidly expanding middle classes accessed a whole new range of electrical appliances known as “white goods” and luxury items at prices that were competitive owing to the phenomenon of “globalisation”. What were confined to a small segment progressively came within the reach of a much larger section of the population. Electricity today doesn’t simply light up the houses; it runs kitchens, helps in washing clothes, crockery and utensils, cools and heats the houses, entertains the family and provides 24X7 connectivity.
Citizens are further burdened beyond disruptions of power by surge of power which happened a few days back rendering electrical appliances of consumers beyond redemption showing the reckless state of functioning of the electricity department. The electricity department has been prominent enough for not providing regular electricity to consumers. This dilemma is common enough.
There is, in fact, little choice to prevent disruptions. The only real question is bringing a solution to the present power crisis in the state. The electricity department has been blaming the public for not clearing their bills. This cripples the department in paying for power purchased from other states amounting to huge sums. It is a ridiculous fact known that bills of the consumers are never delivered in time, sometimes never delivered for years. This leads to staggering amount of power bills of an individual.
The recent drive by the electricity department is felt irrational by many. One consumer was even mortified by the electricity department by means of publishing their photograph in a local daily while some others were sent to jail.
 Some even filed a Public Interest Litigation case to stop the electricity department in carrying out the drive terming it as vicious as the department had failed to supply power to the consumers. Astounding is the demand of the complainants – mere eight hours of power supply which the electricity department is finding it intricate.
Consumers might find it viable if future disruptions are relatively isolated, and fairly infrequent which would be tolerable to some extent. Then only the consumers would start paying their bills appreciatively.
It is, inevitably, the public who will pay for the years of neglect of the power infrastructure. At least last week`s surge in some parts of Imphal has confirmed the extent of the problem. If getting by an excuse was once an option for the electricity department, it is no longer. This is a bitter pill that must be swallowed.
Alternatively, funding will have to be found for the dues owed by the electricity department in purchasing power and not blame the consumers when it fails in collecting dues or consumers paying it; ideally for a state-of-the-art transmission system that keeps power flowing virtually whatever happens. Yet no matter power shortage of this magnitude should not occur for future generations and the electricity department should ensure it and will need to do more, in fact should prevent disruptions which are becoming worse day after day.


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