Working of U.P. Electricity Officials - VII
It is the defective work culture of U.P. electricity administration that accounts for about 50 percent of electricity being wasted in various ways with no concern at official levels.
- Wastage of Electricity through Mismanagement
- Electricity Thefts
- Line Losses
- Voltage Stabilization Losses
- Charger-Battery-Inverter Losses
- Defective Work Culture
- Further Reading
So far in this series of articles, you have read the following 6 articles -
1. Availability of Electricity,
2. Work Contracts,
3. Obstacles in New Connections,
4. No MIS makes everyone free,
5. Consumer Service Personnel,
6. Murdering of Unemployed Youths.
Now, read on how these officials are responsible for wastage of precious eectricity.
Wastage of Electricity through Mismanagement
The Indian state of Uttar Pradesh (U.P.) has about 7,000 MW of electricity against its registered demand of 8,000 MW, still the consumers get electricity for 6 hours a day on an average, that too with unscheduled shutdowns. I have studied the matter in some detail to find out where the available electricity goes to.
Thefts of electricity from the public distribution lines is a common practice in the state for three reasons –
· Moral turpitude of people in general,
· Corrupt practices of officials for personal gains,
· Negligence of duties and responsibilities by officials concerned.
Even the richest and the resourceful persons in the villages don’t hesitate in stealing electricity for it being a common practice for generations. For this weakness of theirs, they never demand for proper supply of electricity or support any demand of this type. Last year, when I sat on a fast for a better supply of electricity, very few persons of the area supported me whole-heartedly. The officials know this very well but remain inactive for their own reasons of non-disturbance in their luxurious lifestyles.
Most of big thefts of electricity are in urban areas by industrialists in connivances with local official at personal levels and with benefits to the official concerned.
For such mass and large scale thefts, all distribution lines and equipment remain overloaded resulting into frequent breakdowns a high line losses.
Against a norm of 6 to 10 percent of line losses depending on the area, actual line losses in the state’s network comes out to be about 25 percent for overloading as well as for poor maintenance of lines and equipment. Even new installations through contractors are not done properly for corrupt practices of the officials concerned. As an example, a work contract for the renovation of Unchagaon substation in Bulandshahr district has not been completed by the contractor as per norms and officials have no interest in pressing the contractor to do the job in a proper way for obvious reasons.
Voltage Stabilization Losses
Unscheduled, unauthorized and unaccounted loads on the distribution network result into heavy voltage fluctuations at the consumer ends, often going to plus 50 to minus 40 percent in rural areas and plus-minus 30 percent in urban areas of the designated 230 volts against a specified norm of plus-minus 6 percent as prescribed by the Electricity Regulatory Commission of the state. But, no official bothers for the norms and the performance.
For such heavy voltage fluctuations, consumer equipment and gadgets get damaged if not protected by voltage stabilizers individually. These stabilizers are often of cheap quality and work at efficiency of about 75 percent on an average. Assuming 70 percent of consumers have voltage stabilizers for their loads, about 18 percent of available electricity gets lost in voltage stabilizing equipments. For this loss of electricity, consumers pay while the officials are primarily responsible for this.
Firstly, except some priority areas like those of government officials colonies, there is no place where electricity availability is guaranteed for all the 24 hours. In rural areas, it is planned for 8 to 10 hours a day but is made available only for 5 to 6 hours a day on a average while in urban areas, it is planned for 12 to 16 hours but made available for 8 to 12 hours a day only. The shutdowns are frequent and unscheduled.
Since, electricity has become a necessity of modern lifestyle and for building designs, consumers want it for all the 24 hours of the day. For this, they install a charger-battery-inverter unit in their premises. On availability of electricity, the battery gets charged and during off hours, the battery feeds the loads through the inverter. The charger-battery-inverter unit works at about an efficiency of 50 percent. Assuming electricity availability of 12 hours a day, the load on the lines remains tripled to normal load during availability hours. Assuming 50 percent of consumers have such equipment installed in their premises, this results wastage of about 15 percent of available electricity.
Defective Work Culture
Summing up the above three losses together, about 58 of the available electricity is being wasted which could be reduced to about 8 percent with proper management of electricity affairs in the state but the officialdom is not concerned about this for its defective work culture.
The main problem of mismanagement of electricity affairs in the state remains due to defective work culture of the officialdom. The performance of the state electricity administration has always been like this since independence of the country from British empire in 1947, and the whole hierarchy of officials has passed and cultured in this defective working. As a result, they all are habitual of this, and such gross mismanagement appears to be a normal affair to them. This makes them reluctant to take up any remedial measures, even if suggested to them by an outsider.
The whole functionality of the state’s electricity administration is plagued with absence of any Management Information System. Therefore, no body knows performance of his own or that of his subordinates, thus having no inclination for an improvement. All officials just exist in their respective positions, get all the luxuries at cost to the poor people of the state ad are involved in all sorts of nasty practices.