Tuesday, September 27, 2011
I'd mentioned in an earlier post that the power systems here are not as reliable as we are used to in the United States - loss of electricity is common here, and all of the apartment complexes we looked at while shopping supplied some sort of generator power. (For those of you who are potential future Bangalorians, make sure you ask whether the generator powers only the common areas or the apartment complexes as well - if it doesn't, you'll need to buy your own personal generator.)

Our power goes off at least once a day, and we've all mostly adapted to waiting about 5 seconds in a dark room before the generators kick in and turn our lights back on. We had to buy a backup battery for the internet modems, sometimes the power would go off so often it was almost impossible to surf the net. (GASP!) The modem would take 2 minutes to reconnect, the power would be going off every 3 minutes, so you'd spend the entire day watching the little blinking modem lights change from green to red and back again.



But yesterday was particularly bad. It would have been better had the power just stayed off and let the generators do their work, but yesterday it seemed the electricity "flickered" on and off in quick succession for at least three hours yesterday. I started to worry about my laundry - the big appliances (refrigerator, washer, dryer, etc) aren't on generator power, so the load of wet (and soapy) clothes sat in a hot washer for far too long.

Today Jason tells me there's a reason for this. The state of Karnataka (Bangalore's state) generates electricity by burning coal in several power stations throughout the city. But the coal is transported in from another state, and there have been political issues that have caused the regular deliveries to massively downgrade. There has been a strike in the coal mines as part of a Telangana (a region in the Andhra Pradesh state) bid to be removed from Andhra Pradesh and set up as their own state.

Some of the trains that run coal to Karnataka have been blockaded, and the Bangalore power plants are very short on coal as a result. This has caused the plants to practice "load shedding" or scheduled blackouts throughout the day. Here's hoping a solution is found before we're down to no power at all.

More details here and here.


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