A few days back, when I got home, there was no power. It was not unusual. Though we've not been having scheduled power cuts, a one-off power cut such as this was not surprising at all. The power however was not restored for almost three hours. My parents and brother were also home by then. We checked with our neighbours. Everyone had power. It was only our house that did not have power. Now, this was unusual.
I checked the main circuit boards. Nothing had tripped. I also confirmed with my father that the electricity bill had been paid. Then why did we alone not have power?
It was nearing eight in the evening. We called the electricity board's complaint number and made a complaint. They gave us a complaint number. Those in Hyderabad or familiar with the city know the value of that complaint number. Close to zilch.
We then got the number of the sub station of our area. We called the number and spoke to someone there and explained the problem. We told him that we really needed the power to be restored asap. We also added 'Aapko khush kar denge' (we will make you happy) at the end. You might actually squirm on reading this but please understand that nothing would have happened if we did not promise him this. I would have to miss my dialysis session as a result.
Two people from the sub station arrived in ten minutes. They checked everything. In the house everything seemed to be all right. They then went to the pole from where we got our power and found the problem. They returned to tell us. There had apparently been some repairs that were carried out that evening. The technicians had not reconnected our connection to the mains!! Can you beat that? Had they forgotten? Why did they not reconnect it? These guys had no idea.
I asked them to connect the lines then. They said they could not do it. It could be done only the next morning. I would have to skip dialysis, I thought. Which is not such a bad thing especially since I was on daily nocturnal. But one of the guys suggested that they could put a temporary hack in place which would give us power till the next morning when the actual line would be connected. We asked him to go ahead after assuring ourselves that this did not pose any risk.
Within half an hour, the power was restored. We had to shell out seven hundred rupees for some wire and making the guys 'khush'.
Which brings me to the point of this post. Why is the government really in the business of providing electricity to the people? Isn't this best left to the private sector? It was like this in telecommunications too. The moment private companies were allowed entry there was a huge improvement in quality. Today, even though there are government companies in the telecom sector, there is a big difference in quality and customer service when you compare with private operators.
I really feel that power should be opened up to the private sector. Only then will see any improvement in service.