Monday, June 20, 2011

Punjab Power

Oh how I remember in Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi how Raj declared his love for Tani by having his friend turn off the power across the whole city and then write "I Love You" in lights. I watched that movie before moving to Punjab and during that scene I thought about all the power cuts my hubby told me they had here. I remember thinking how in the world I was going to deal with the power cuts. Ugh. Now I'm here (and interestingly enough it's power free Monday - meaning they cut the power off for the whole day) and I see first hand how bad the power system is here.

Before anyone gets upset, let me first state: THIS BLOG IS IN NO WAY MEANT TO DEMEAN, MOCK, OR BADMOUTH INDIA. Thank you. I'm just pointing out some of the things that go on here for those of you who haven't been to India or don't really know what it's like here.

For starters, there simply isn't enough power to go around. That's why India is currently working on ways of improving the power system and entertaining the idea of nuclear power plants being installed. This is an election year in Punjab and early in the season they touted how they weren't going to be cutting the power for long periods of time. Then, unfortunately, two of the 3 power generators that supply power here went down hard last month. So now, though minimally compared to previous years, they are cutting the power again.

In this neighborhood they cut the power every Monday between 9:30-10 AM and it doesn't come back until abt 5 PM. Randomly here and there they cut the power for a few minutes or a couple hours later in the evening. That doesn't happen regularly at all thank goodness. Of course, those usually happen right about the time I'm going to shower in the evenings to rinse off all the sweat from the day. Lol....that's how my luck rolls.

To even get power here you have to apply for an adequate connection. This is unlike America where you get a box, you use what you want and no one cares how much it is until bill time. So when we got our AC installed we had to apply for a 3 KW connection. That took a month to be installed. Since it got installed, the power has rarely been at full capacity on either of the houses meters. The original meter still powers the rest of the house and is only a 1 KW connection. I also learned while waiting for the new meter that it is illegal to pull more KW's than your meter is set for. Apparently it takes away from everyone elses power and can cause their power to flicker or not work in their houses. Now, that sounded a little odd to me because (like in America) each house has it's own power connection and some houses have more than one meter (like ours which has 3). But recently I took some photos and let me show you what power connections actually look like here.

This picture was taken in one of the major shopping districts here. Those lines run to all the shops on the strip. Here's another one from the same area.

Obviously the desire for power has outgrown the original layout for providing the power. There are more connections there than the equipment was designed to handle. It makes for quite a mess. I would not want to have to try to sort that out and repair it when things go wrong.

To complicate things further, the power thieves go out and mess with these tangled lines to get more power for themselves without paying for it. This causes burned power lines and more from the high voltage and lack of knowledge for dealing with it by those thieves. Then the power company has to send someone to fix it which takes hours to sort out the mess and replace the lines. And yet, all of this is normal, every day life here in Punjab. Life keeps going, even when the power goes out.


  1. Bless you for dealing with this…I could not. I just vacuumed, got my music blaring, my Mac is plugged and charging as I type, I've got the oven preheating to make dinner and Im about to put a load of laundry in. Being married to an Indian, and having traveled to India, makes me appreciate my life here in the states…. I'm not sure I could deal but who knows, perhaps I could adapt. (but I've begged hubby not to test my abilities any time soon!) LOL

  2. oh, and one more thing. Over the last month I have seen a lot of us bloggers apologizing for our words.

    It hasn't so much been on our blogs, but within our other "group".
    Quite frankly, I think its hogwash.
    You blog for your own reason… and if someone wants to tell you that you are being mean or insulting then why are they reading it. You are sharing the nitty gritty of what its like for a western woman to live in India. If i were about to move there I would look for you site over some overly "everything is glitter and rainbow" blog… where the author makes writes with rose colored glasses. I'd want to know EXACTLY what to expect… not only the beautiful things…but the horrible and dirty as well. Cut and dry, moving and living in India is very different for us western ladies, and sharing this knowledge will only help other gori wives decide where they let their love take them.
    I don't think any one of us bloggettes "have it out" for India… to mock it or badmouth it… we are just sharing our OWN experiences and thoughts. Keep writing in your usual White Bhabhi way, don't apologize, and know that you shouldn't have to preface your posts to appease the "others"…

  3. Absolutely Andrea! I couldn't agree with your more (about everything lol...appreciating the US more, not always apologizing, etc.). The only reason I posted that disclaimer is because, this time, it is not my intention to sound negative. Hubby worries these pictures are going to become a way of me making fun of India. I don't do that and tried to explain to him that this is the real India and if he doesn't like it he should do something to change it and I'm not hiding the reality from anyone for him. The whole point in my blog is to let others know what they could be facing so they can be better prepared than I was.

    That disclaimer was for hubby coz he sneaks over here and reads stuff when I'm not looking lol. I really think he's going to freak out a little when I start writing more of these posts because I've been taking a lot of pictures lately. ;)

  4. ha ha ha! sounds like there are interesting posts in the future! LOL! sneaky hubby better stay away! ;0)