India’s struggling power distribution companies (known as discoms) could be forced to compensate consumers for unscheduled power cuts that last more than two hours under a policy measure proposed this weekend by Delhi’s chief minister.
The minister, Arvind Kejriwal (pictured), said over the weekend that the policy “will be implemented soon”.
Delhi’s peak power demand hit a record-breaking 6188 MW on Friday, prompting blackouts lasting up to six hours – including a blackout during a speech by national energy minister Piyush Goyal outlining initiatives aimed at boosting the nation’s power supply.
According to Indian media reports, the demand peak was the highest since Delhi’s power distribution system was privatized in 2002, with the previous record set at 5846 MW in June 2015.
Delhi’s minister for power Satyendra Jain said on Friday that while there was enough power capacity available to deal with peak loads of up to 7 GW, the blackouts were due to the discoms’ inadequate maintenance of the power supply system.
“When power distribution was privatized, it was claimed that the electricity supply system will improve and bring in more money, which is clearly not happening,” Jain was quoted as saying. He blamed the discoms for not investing enough in their delivery systems, saying “Where is all the money going?”
According to reports, power outages in areas of South Delhi were due to problems with two transformers and an overloaded circuit.
Kejriwal has called a meeting with the heads of the discoms for Tuesday.