Gurgaon: Dear people, do you know what 24x7 power backup means?
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Gurgaon: Dear people, do you know what 24x7 power backup means?

It means 50,000 litres of diesel burnt every hour through DG sets, and that's really a conservative estimate. 

Gurgaon: Dear people, do you know what 24x7 power backup means?

How does the Millennium City ensure that it has uninterrupted power supply? Generator sets, of course. Here’s something to ponder on: At least 50,000 litres of diesel is burnt every hour in Gurgaon to ensure power backup in residential and commercial areas, according to Haryana State Pollution Control Board (HSPCB) estimates.

Diesel generator (DG) sets run for up to 10 hours a day in summer to keep the city cool. Factory owners use high-­powered DG sets to ensure there is no gap in production.

“There are around 1,500 DG sets, with a capacity ranging between 125 KV and 6,000 KV, that are installed across the city’s residential, industrial and commercial establishments. Together, they consume about 50,000 litres of diesel every hour,” said JB Sharma, regional manager, HSPCB Gurgaon.

It’s a necessary evil, residents say. With power supply not too reliable, what do residents of condominiums do!

“We do not mind paying extra for reliable power backup, as we have no option. We have appealed to our developer to install solar panels, which is economically affordable, and also pollution-free,” said a resident of Fresco Apartment in Sector 50.

According to real estate experts, 100 percent power backup is a major reason for people choosing to stay in condominiums.  Pankaj Tomar, a city-based real estate consultant, said, “Many families I know shifted to Gurgaon in the last decade from Delhi for 24x7 power. This is a top priority for any prospective homebuyer.”

But what about environmental costs?

Burning diesel emits two dangerous pollutants — PM 2.5, SO2 and NOX into the air.

Sharma said, “We hire independent experts to do routine testing of DG sets. If we find faults in the sets, we issue a show-cause notice to explain the reasons and to rectify it in seven days. In case they repeat the fault, the bank guarantee of the defaulters will be forfeited and their premises sealed.”

HSPCB needs to carry out regular testing of DG sets and submit a monthly report on emissions to the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) and the Union ministry of environment and forests.

But are HSPCB estimates correct?

Far from it, feel experts.

Vivek Kamboj, an environmentalist and the founder-director of Hariyali NGO, said, “Many societies in sectors 80-115 are not included in HSPCD list. There are around 2,500-3,000 high capacity DG sets installed across the city and they consume one lakh litres of diesel per hour. If we go by average power cuts of three hours a day, it would mean three lakh litres of diesel is consumed daily.”

DG sets are hugely concentrated in DLF areas, Sushant Lok, malls of Sohna Road and MG Road, Udyog Vihar industries and new group housing complexes spread in sectors along Northern Peripheral Road (NPR).

Additionally, there are construction sites that use DG sets.

DG sets are used on an average for two-three hours from May to July, when power demand peaks. And unfortunately, most societies don’t have any alternative.  

So, what’s the way out? Regular supply of power by DHBVN. Simple!

But that can happen only after the Smart Grid project — a system of underground transmission infrastructure maintained remotely through technology — becomes fully operational. It is expected to be ready by 2022.

Vinay Pratap Singh, deputy commissioner, Gurgaon, said, “We are working on reducing the dependency on DG sets by improving electricity supply. The supply has improved and we hope it would be much better when Smart Grid becomes a reality soon.”