For residents of Noida, Ghaziabad and other Uttar Pradesh towns neighbouring the national capital, crippling power woes might soon be a thing of past. Added to it, the twin cities are likely to get 24x7 power supply.
Officials say the government has begun work on a project hinged on differential tariffs for the two cities, linked to people's paying capacities, and in turn provide for a round-the-clock power supply without any outages.
The proposal is likely to be sent soon to the UP Electricity Regulatory Commission for consideration.
Confirming this, Industrial and Infrastructure Development Commissioner (IIDC) Anil Kumar Gupta told IANS that to him the "time for this idea" had come.
He said he had directed power officials to work on a road map wherein people, groups and districts would be free to chose the power supply frequency they want - if they were ready to cough up more money.
"The idea has come from certain resident welfare associations (RWA) from Noida and Ghaziabad and we have found it to be workable," Gupta said.
Based on the suggestions by RWAs which have expressed their willingness to pay more if they can get power supply the whole day, the Uttar Pradesh Power Corp Pvt Ltd (UPPCL) is working out the possibilities which would later be sent to the UP Electricity Regulatory Commission for approval.
"The costs entailed by the UPPCL in buying electricity are very high. We sell it to consumers at a very low rates. In such circumstances, if we can earn more, cut losses, I do not think that power supply to these cities should be much of a problem," Avanish Awasthi, chairman-cum-managing director of UPPCL, told IANS.
At the moment, UPPCL charges about Rs 3 per unit from domestic consumeRs The RWAs are ready to pay up Rs 5-6, informed sources say.
This, the RWA's have pleaded, would bring down their extra costs that go in running the diesel-fed gensets since most buildings are high-rise and multi-storeyed and utilities like lifts and water supply are dependent on power supply.
Sudhir Srivastava, president of Shipra Suncity Phase II RWA in Ghaziabad, told IANS they would welcome this move. "In such heat, giving a few rupees more is the last thing on our mind. We want power. If by paying more this can be ensured, so why not?"
S.K. Bhatnagar, a RWA member of the Eastend Society in Indirapuram, too, says that if this "works out, nothing like it". He pointed out that in any case they were paying Rs 10-14 per unit for back up power supply.
Noida and Ghaziabad consume about 500 MW of electricity respectively per day and the recent "fluctuations" in Anpara, Paricha and Harduaganj had led to outages of over 16-17 hours a day.
"Most plants are dropping due to heat and so rostering is the only option," said a powerman.
Apparently, Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav is in the loop about the messy affairs in this region.
The UPPCL is faced with a whopping Rs 10,000 crore in outstanding dues. The BSP government in 2011 purchased power worth Rs 2,000 crore to handle the power crisis but the the bills were not cleared.
This led to an additional burden for UPPCL.
The UP Transformer Industries Forum, an umbrella group of over 200 companies, has threatened to stop supply of transformers to the UPPCL. The power corporation is also trying to find ways to realise a whopping Rs 17,000 crore from defaulters.