Last Months Indian Electrical Crisis

You may have seen in the news (nearly a month ago now) the reports of a widespread electricity outage that stretched over north and eastern India leaving hundreds of millions without electrical power. Three of the national electrical power grids collapsed, one of them for two days, leaving trains, countless homes and many utility services at a standstill.

One reported cause of the electrical outage was that too much electrical power was being drawn than could be provided by the systems in place. This may be due to the continually expanding Indian economy, an economy perhaps outpacing the infrastructure gains.

India also has a dark reputation with regards to corruption, some say is endemic to many government offices and other parts of society. Perhaps the electrical loss was a symptom of this societal malaise.

Yesterday, the US ambassador to India, Nirupama Rao tried to downplay the electrical power system problems and infrastructure holes in India. She claimed that the event was an isolated incident and that looking at the longer term, overall progress made by the still developing country, the records is improving and the outlook is strong.

It is easy to scorn India for its problems from the vantage point of the highly developed, historical city of Bath, but consider that just within the past decade, millions of Indians have gained new access to electricity. Consider also the scale of the management difficulty of a country of 1.2 billion people and a climate and terrain profile far more challenging to work with than our temperate, easy rolling hills and pastures.


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