BHUBANESWAR: As the people are reeling under grueling heat and humidity with monsoon rains making a vanishing act, an unprecedented rise in power cuts and outages in Tata Power-managed central Odisha distribution areas, including Twin City Bhubaneswar and Cuttack along with several districts, have made life more miserable.
Power cuts had become a thing of the past in the Twin City, but have come to haunt the residents after Tata Power took over the management of Central Electricity Supply Utility (CESU) from June 1, 2020.
The magnitude of power disruptions is unfathomable, coming at a time when supply exceeds the demand of the State due to lockdown triggered by the Covid-19 pandemic. The power demand of Tata Power Central Odisha Distribution Limited (TPCODL) on Sunday was 1,079 MW as against normal demand of 1,550 MW.
“Power cuts of longer duration in rural areas are rampant and deliberate to save money from loss-making feeders while frequent disruptions in supply in urban centers are due to localized problems. The problems became more acute after the new management outsourced some of the services to private business associates,” sources familiar with the problem said.
As the top executives of TPCODL rely more on their business associates ignoring the old technical and non-technical staff, they are not getting the required support from the latter.
“There is nothing wrong with the existing power infrastructure but everything is wrong with the new management. Technical or non-technical problems that were earlier resolved at the junior engineer level are now reported to top bosses of the management.
As orders coming from the top take time, the consumers suffer,” the sources maintained. There is basically a trust deficit between the management and the employees who have been retained from CESU as per the agreement. Under CESU, the employees were working as a team. The new management has created a division and consumers will suffer so long the old employees are not taken into confidence, insiders pointed out.
Apart from power cuts, a large number of billing-related complaints have been reported from the consumers. There are discrepancies in the energy bill provided to consumers from handheld devices and the official online billing site of TPCODL.
With restrictions on movement during the COVID lockdown, consumers find it difficult to pay the bill online as the system is not accepting the amount due to the differential amount.