Power Distribution in Agra : Ground 1
“May the curse fall upon you , may you all get troubled incessantly in this place”.
No, this is not the opening to a horror story, this is one of the many ways people swear in the name of Torrent Power & its employees in the “Land of Taj”.
We are all aware of the details of its modus operandi in Agra ,so I would not focus on the agreement and franchisee aspects. Rather I would share the ground details that have a supplementing impact on the micro & macro environment of the region.
Having completed more than 3 years of Franchisee operation in Agra, the company is yet to bring to concurrence the views of public , that “Electricity is their right but certainly not free of cost”. And local media bigwigs viz. Hindustan, Dainik Jagran, Amar Ujala appear all determined to root out the company from Agra. One newspaper has been running a campaign for a considerably long duration to oppose Torrent’s operation in the city, without having an iota of understanding of any case or incident.
Habituated by the poor and inefficient practices of erstwhile discom ,the consumers have long forgotten or never learnt that they need to pay for what they consume. Now when they are asked to pay for their energy consumption, unfortunately for Torrent Power, they consider it to be an extortion money. The customer care centres are inundated with the consumers & their innumerable complaints. Company has employed ample staff to deal with reasonable queries , but the current staff has to face not only the frenzied volleys of consumers but also bear their brunt in the form of abuses, threats & at times violence. The teams which are set for vigilance to detect unauthorized or illegal connections are manhandled, chased away by dogs, & maltreated in other ways. The teams that go for undergrounding the distribution wires face stiff resistance in the name of political parties & influential people. If the media says that the company is really making astronomical profits out of its operation in the city , they must try & invite a more ethical company (say Tata Power) to come and invest in Uttar Pradesh. I doubt any occurrence of such a deal in future also & the reason being the enormous ruckus people are allowed to create here owing to their political links.
Today Agra City is witnessing infrastructure development at a breathtaking pace. Someone who hasn’t been to Agra for quite a while must visit this place now. All but roads has flourished. Could this have been a possibility without availability of electricity services? Ask the commercial stores & business people, they’ll vouch for the same. I’ve seen native people who just returned from some other state surprised at the development. The road infrastructure per se is not much dependent on Electricity Services. It’s the govt. will that would play an important role here.
I would like to leave the readers with few questions:
1) Who would be at a loss if the distribution lines are undergrounded & thus illegal tapping prevented?
2) Who would be at a profit if the losses reduce to a subcritical figure in the range 15-20%. ?
3) Who would benefit from consumer care centers?
4) Who would benefit from the continuous network monitoring &rapid fault correction?
5) And finally who would benefit from a 15+ hour power supply throughout the area ?
If you judiciously answer these questions & assess them , I hope you would understand the ways adopted by Torrent Power Ltd. to eliminate the issues plaguing the city’s power distribution sector.
This is what I’ve come to understand during my initial days in the company. The matter is of interest to me because of the involvement of all elements of society in the process. There are other facets too & I’ll try to come up with more unprejudiced views subsequently.