India is facing the worst power outages in more than six years amid heatwaves and soaring high temperatures across states and Union Territories (UTs). Two in three households in India confirmed facing power outages amidst heatwave and high temperatures in a survey conducted by LocalCircles.
One in three of the respondents confirmed facing outages of over two hours or more each day. The findings also suggest that only 12% of households in India have 24x7 power backup, while the rest either have an inverter device or have no backup at all. The survey received 21,500 responses from citizens across 322 districts of India.
A few days ago, the Delhi government said that the growing power crisis amid coal shortage could lead to more power cuts impacting metro services and even hospitals.
The high temperature in India's national capital in the last week of April has been hovering between 42 and 46 degrees Celsius. In Gujarat, the rise in temperatures has prompted the government to issue an advisory to hospitals to set up special wards for heat stroke and other heat-related diseases. Several states, including Rajasthan, Haryana and Andhra Pradesh are also observing the worst power cuts amid surging power demand.
LocalCircles' first question in the survey asked citizens, "On an average, how many hours of power outage (from the utility company) are you experiencing each day at your home?"
In response, 34% of citizens said they are 'not facing any outage'. However 28% are facing power outage for 'up to 2 hours', 18% said '2-4 hours', 10% said '4-8 hours', 2% said '8-12 hours' and another 2% said '12-24 hours'. About 6% said 'don't know because we have 24x7 power backup'.
In India, one of the most common devices that middle-class or lower-middle-class homes have is an inverter, which costs anywhere between Rs5,000-Rs10,000 (US$70-US$120) depending on the backup hours and load. With this device, one can, typically, have a couple of bulbs and a fan working and charge one's phones.
LocalCircles asked citizens, "How are you coping with power outages amidst the heatwave and high temperatures?"
In response, 33% said, 'have not had any power outages in my area so far'. Around 12% said they 'have 24x7 power backup at home', 41% said they 'have inverter/similar device at home, and we use it during outages', 2% 'don't have any power backup device and use battery-operated fans, oil lamps, candles, and paper fans to deal with the outage', and 12% said they 'don't have any power backup device and we just live with the outage.'
On an aggregate basis, only 12% of households in India said that they have 24x7 power backup, the rest either have an inverter device or have no backup at all, LocalCircles says.
"As the coal shortages impact supplies and rising demand due to heatwave impact leads to a surge in demand, chances are high that the average duration of outage will rise in the coming month of May, which is generally the peak summer month, for almost all Indian states," LocalCircles says.