Packed With Power


Thane and the suburbs of Mumbai constantly suffer from load shedding. They have to go without electricity for as long as six hours a day. Cities in Gujarat, Kutch and Delhi where temperatures range between 37 degree celsius and 42 degree celsius also suffer from four to five hours of power cuts. We have no choice but to live in the blistering heat, says Rohit Panani, a young boy who has come to visit his family in Mumbai. He is amazed at the kind of wastage of electricity he has seen in the city. When quizzed, he says, If Mumbai saved electricity on hoarding lights, street lights, fully lit up shops and malls, entertainment centres and lights in buildings and workspaces, we would probably not suffer so much!

On the other hand Mumbai based 11-year-old Rohan Jaiswal says, We suffer from frequent power cuts too. But we've never wondered why it happens or if minimal usage will help other states." Excessive use of electricity leads to overloading and results in power cuts. Everybody these days uses computers, laptops, washing machine, TVs and so on. Have we ever thought of using them judiciously? 

"Most of Mumbai has been lucky so far, but that does not mean street lights shouldn't be put off in the day?" asks 12-year-old Pinky Jaiswal, pointing towards the street light that's been burning bright all morning. We spoke to the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation to get you all the answers. Says D.L Shinde, chief engineer (roads and traffic), In order to save electricity the BMC has decided to switch off alternate streetlights in the city and use power-saving devices. BMC even plans to replace all the halogen and mercury bulbs currently used in the electric poles with light-emitting diode (LED) lamps, which consume less power. Using solar power to operate street lights is also on our list."

Solar Energy refers to the utilisation of radiant energy from the sun. Certain research has been undertaken to use this renewable source as an alternative means of generating electricity. Some of its important uses could be heating water for domestic usage and using solar-thermal panels to heat foodstuffs through solar ovens. In fact it is already being used widely in villages and smaller towns. Even builders are trying to use this source of energy. India s first solar housing project called Rabirashmi Abasan was set up in West Bengal. It is the first of its kind where residents push power generated in their rooftop solar photo-voltaic panels into a grid that powers utilities.

Here's how you can do your bit:
  • Don't have all your house lights on. Minimise usages where you can!
  • Use curtains and shades on your windows to keep rooms cool
  • Try and replace incandescent lamps with compact fluorescent lights
  • Ask mom and dad to check the rubber seals on your refrigerator door
  • See that your air-conditioner and heater is not turned up too high
  • Turn off lights before you leave a room
  • Do not keep electricity devices on standby mode
  • Turn off your computer if you are going away for a long time
  • Check for cracks or breaks in your window and door frames