Moving to cap the public resentment over a spike in the frequency of power cuts, Arvind Kejriwal's Aam Aadmi Party government in the national capital is trying to revive a rule that requires electricity distribution companies to compensate customers for electricity cuts that last longer than two hours. Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia will head to Lt Governor Anil Baijal to seek his support on the proposal that was cancelled the last time because the Kejriwal government had tried to do it on its own.
"I am meeting him (Mr Baijal) tomorrow and would discuss the same if he has any doubts. Earlier, the high court had struck down the compensation as the file was not approved by the previous Lt Governor," Mr Sisodia said, listing the steps that the government was taking to make life easier for the city' residents.
It has been tough.
"It is an absolute pain," said a furious south Delhi resident Rajeev Kakaria, 43, caught between the blistering heat outside and frequent electricity outages at home. "With 48 degree heat, we have no option but to stay indoors and then with power outages every 2 hours, it is simply crazy, how is one to survive this heat," said Mr Kakaria of Greater Kailash locality.
It is a similar story in many parts of the city, Many residents have complained of power cuts lasting up to 6 hours, sometimes through the night
Power demand in Delhi has gone up to about 6,500 megawatt, or MW, but the government says the problem isn't a power shortage and can cater up to 8000 MW. But the searing sun heats up the power equipment too; transformers trip and power cables snap.
The power regulator has identified 900 vulnerable points across the capital but experts say a long term solution can only be to make more investment into the distribution network to slow down the growth in power consumption. The capital has the highest per capita power consumption in the country.
Mr Sisodia said the government had issued orders to the capital's power distribution companies to improve their ability to handle complaints of power outages. In case of scheduled power cuts, the minister wants the companies to send a text message to customers in advance so that people are not taken by surprise. If it is an unscheduled power cut, the minister wants the companies to report it to the government every morning.
But the most contentious move is the one that seeks to compensate subscribers. "The file of compensation to be paid to every consumer by discoms for power cuts of more than two hours to be placed before the LG today itself for approval," Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said in a directive to Chief Secretary.