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Last Updated: Monday, 9 April 2007, 17:24 GMT 18:24 UK
'No April power cuts' in Mumbai
By Monica Chadha
BBC News, Mumbai

Chandrakant Yashwant Rao
Regular power cuts make life difficult
There will be no power cuts in India's financial capital, Mumbai (Bombay), in April, power companies say.

One of the two main power suppliers to the city, Tata Power, has said it can cope with shortages this month.

But it gave no guarantee of continuous electricity for residents in the peak summer months of May and June.

The city needs about 2600 MW of power every day and is short by about 400 MW. It faces possible regulated blackouts for the first time in over 100 years.

'Unfair'

On Monday, Tata Power said it had managed to secure 300 MW for the month of April and would cover the rest of the shortfall by getting power from wherever possible on a daily basis.

Everything is put on hold for those four hours that we don't have power
Mrinmayee Ranade,
Mumbai suburb resident

Tata Power and Reliance Energy, the other main supplier to Mumbai, are both purchasing power from neighbouring states and other power plants.

However, they are not guaranteeing a cool summer and predict that if people do not conserve energy and use it wisely, then there could be power cuts and higher tariffs for consumers who want continuous, or too much, electricity.

Mumbai has always had an uninterrupted power supply despite the rest of the state of Maharashtra - of which the city is capital - and country facing acute electricity shortages.

Residents can switch on and off as they please while areas on the outskirts of the city face power cuts of up to four hours. In some areas of the state, electricity goes off for 10 hours at a stretch.

However, a growing population and new offices, malls and multiplexes springing up across the city are consuming more energy.

At the same time not enough power plants are being built to feed demand, leading to the acute shortage that Mumbai now faces.

People living outside Mumbai have often protested against what they say is unfair treatment, questioning why they face electricity shortages while Mumbai does not.

'Special case'

Mrinmayee Ranade, one resident of Mulund near Thane district on the city's outskirts, says she pays her taxes just like the city's residents so she should also get the same amount of electricity they do.

"Life is becoming very difficult because we don't know in advance when the lights will go out. The other day my daughter was almost stuck in the elevator because as soon as she got out the electricity went off.

"Everything is put on hold for those four hours that we don't have power.

"I can't cook food because I can't operate the food processor, I can't finish household chores or get anything repaired because there is no light, can't even go the beauty parlour," she said.

The president of the Indian Merchants' Chamber in the city, Nayan Patel, told the BBC there was a case to be made for Mumbai having electricity at all times.

He said: "The city is India's financial hub, centre for commercial activities, it is the gateway to the country.

"When foreign investors come to India, they land here and they form their impression of India based on what they see around them. Consulates, international trade offices, businesses, everyone has an office here."

"At least in times of crisis, you make sure you don't jeopardise your future even if you can't contain it today."


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