India Experiences Wide Loss of Electric Power

September 14, 2012

Unlocking Word Meanings
Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

1. outage (n.) 
[ou-tij] – power failure or a lack of electricity
Example: The storm caused power outages in several cities.

2. keep up (v.) [keep uhp] – to meet the expectations or demands
Example: The company increased production to keep up with the public’s demand for the product.

3. outmoded (adj.) [out-moh-did] – old, outdated or no longer very useful
Example: The hospital will soon replace its outmoded equipment.

4. normalize (v.) [nawr-muh-lahyz] – to return something to normal or to the usual working order
Example:  The country may take some years to normalize after war ended.

5. hamper (v.) [ham-per] – to block or delay the progress or activity of something or someone
Example: The lack of budget hampered the project from getting finished  on time.

Read the text below.

India experienced some of the world’s worst power outages last July 30 and 31. The country had two major power outages in only two days, affecting 50% of the population or over 600 million people.

Sushilkumar Shinde, the power minister, said that electricity service failed because the electric grids could not keep up with the demand. On the other hand, some government officials blamed outmoded electricity wires.   

In West Bengal, 200 miners were trapped deep in mines because their electric elevators did not work. In Kolkata, government offices were forced to close early and train stations became crowded. There was no power in some hospitals. Farmers could not use their electric water systems. The outages also affected investment and small businesses that did not have backup energy supplies.

Electricity services in India are mostly run by the government and only less than 25% are private. On July 30, India bought energy from neighboring country Bhutan, to try to bring back power. The grids in southern and western India also assisted in normalizing the electricity services.

The outages have also embarrassed Indian citizens who hope to show a good business image to the international community.  Factories, production and businesses are hampered because of electricity shortage and poor transportation.

Economist N. Bhanumurthy of the National Institute of Public Finance and Policy believes the events will have further negative economic impacts.

To address the problems, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has promised to focus more on power, infrastructure and economy plans, but some believe action to solve these problems are coming too slowly.

Viewpoint Discussion
Enjoy a discussion with your tutor. 

Discussion A

·         Do you think energy supply is a very important issue in your country? What makes you say so?
·         What ways has the government in your country done to help save energy?

Discussion B

·         In your own personal way, how can you save electricity?
·         Why is it important to not overuse our resources?

September 14, 2012