Frequent power cuts have become a part of life for residents of Indrayaninagar and other areas along Moshi Pradhikaran’s Spine Road. Residents and local officials blame the electricity company’s doorstep, which they say has refused to address long-standing problems in these areas.
Manoj Singh, a resident of Sector 10, said the power supply was cut off for 2-3 hours every other day. “Every Thursday we have the scheduled load shedding, which is understandable. What we don’t understand are unexpected weekday power cuts,” he said. Singh said locals tried to contact hotline numbers during the outages but got no response.
Spine Road and adjacent areas are mainly residential with old bungalows co-existing with new residential companies. Given its proximity to the industrial areas of Bhosari and Chakan, the area has seen an influx of residents, with Moshi and surrounding areas identified among the fastest growing suburbs of Pune by surveys.
However, locals like Singh say the erratic electricity supply has become a major problem for them. At least two or three times a week there are unexpected power outages. In some societies, residents say the problem is “perennial”. This is true of both the main feeder lines and the transformers fed from those lines. In 2020, a transformer burst in the area, killing two people.
Local officials had meetings with the Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Company Limited, but a permanent solution eluded the area. Seema Savale, a local caporator and former chairwoman of the standing committee of the Pimpri Chinchwad Municipal Corporation, said she had held several meetings with the officers, but nothing concrete had happened. “We found that the response to the problems is not adequate. The office lacks people who can take responsibility and solve problems,” she said.
Discom officials say a variety of factors need to be considered. Although there are barely 165 linemen, there is also a shortage of funds. With around 3.20 lakh consumers, the Bhosari division is among the largest in the Pune area. The division stretches from Ravet to Talawade Dehu to Dighi and Chinchwad to Moshi. However, at least 1.20 lakh consumers fail to pay their bills on time and arrears have reached Rs 46 crore.
“Consumers don’t pay their bills for over a month and a half, and then the arrears keep piling up. We have no choice but to launch a massive disconnection campaign,” an official said, adding that the lack of immediately available material is also a concern.
Some underground cables are “extremely” old and have developed problems in certain areas. For example, Palghare Vasti is among six to seven sites reporting persistent cable complaints. Officials also say long cables (more than 160 feet) are not immediately available, adding that road widening often damages cables, but such damage is not immediately identified.
The division has approximately 3,200 transformers, some of which are overloaded.