With power situation worsening across Kashmir valley, people have started looking for alternate power sources like noiseless gensets, inverters and solar back ups to light their houses.
“There are more power cuts than scheduled curtailment announced by the government for the winter months across the valley, we are left with no option but to buy alternate power sources to provide light to our houses,” a cross-section of people told Kashmir Wire.
They said government has announced 42-hour power cut in non-metered areas while metered areas are scheduled to face 21 hour power cut during a week. But this is not so, power cuts are resorted to outside the announced scheduled also in both metered and non-metered areas.
They also questioned the government policy about non-metered areas arguing that hardly any area is without meters . However, these areas have been marked non-metered areas for longer duration of power cuts for no valid reason. “When our houses have been installed meters why our locality is in the official records recorded as non-metered area”, questioned Ghulam Mohammad of Dilsoz colony Natipora in Srinagar. Substantiating his claim, he said in our neighbourhood lies Azad Basti which is recorded as “metered area”. They have power but our area remains without power although some of the neighbours in both the localities share a common walls. He said similar is the case in other areas but nobody is prepared to listen..
People said the intense cold gripping the valley due to continued dry spell has added our woes . “With no hope of betterment in the power scenario, the extreme cold during mornings and evenings has made lives miserable for the last three weeks”
The power development department officials recently asked the people across Kashmir valley to brace up for further power cuts if the present dry sp ell continued.All our power houses run on hydel resources when water level recedes power generation also goes down.
Businessmen dealing with electricals were a happy lot as gas operated water heaters, solar power back ups and battery operated inverters are in great demand these days, – reason little or no power supply. “our sales have gone up during the past one week as people from various areas are buying the gadgets to not only keep themselves warm but to light their houses”, a shopkeeper in Lal chowk area told Kashmir Wire.
However, he said he cannot give further details right now as there was heavy rush of customers waiting for their turn outside his shop to buy new gadgets.
Similar or worse situation prevails in villages and towns in North, South, and Central Kashmir.
Dilshada Bano, a resident of Baramulla town of north Kashmir, asks a shopkeeper if he sells the gas operated water gyser – reason, they hardly get electricity in the area. Alternatives like these are in demand these days. With the power crisis worsening each passing day, people are turning to alternative power sources, she said ,
As the winter nears, the hide and seek of electricity increases every time. This year, the government’s power curtailment is more than past because of low discharge of water bodies.. From power gen sets to Inverters and solar back ups, valleyiets are choosing from the range of options available in the market. The trend in markets show people from rural areas opt for solar power back ups compared to urban residents who go for battery inverters.
“Since the electricity is hardly given in villages, people buy solar panels because it requires no electricity to generate back up. but people from urban localities choose battery inverters”, says Owais Masoodi of Millennium Technologies, Exide distributer for north Kashmir.
Last year the demand was not as it is this year. Nowadays people want uninterrupted power supply. So this year we see sales have gone up, says Asim Irshad dealing with solar equipments in Sopore town.
Apart from battery operated power back ups, gensets too are in demand.
The board examination going on in the valley has also boosted the demand for inverters and gen sets, with parents seeking alternative ways to help their children for an uninterrupted power supply which in turn has helped the manufacturers and dealers.
Qurat ul Ain, appearing in 10th board exams feels the hide and seek of electricity affects the preparations
“ We got a solar backed inverter for the uninterrupted power supply, as there was no other option available with us. Either you have to spend some thousands and purchase an inverter or you simply have not to appear in examination. An alternative power back-up device has become mandatory for every household now,” Qurat ul Ain added.
Earlier, inverters, solar panels and gen sets were used exclusively by people having good income but with massive power cuts these devices have become a necessity since the households face power cuts for at least seven to eight hours a day.
According to Junaid Shafi, a retailer at Baramulla, the medium range power back ups are in demand including the solar panels.
“Nowadays people prefer medium range devices for an uninterrupted power supply. Winters are also around, so there is also section of people who prefer high end power back-ups used for multiple purposes, ” Asim said.
Why is electricity situation worsening?
It’s actually a problem of supply and demand. We have same supply of 1200 MW that we had last year but the demand has increased. Joint families go nuclear so power consumption also increase. Unless we do not augment new power grids nothing is going to happen and next winter could be more harsher, says a top official in PDD wishing anonymity.