Explainer: Why India Is Witnessing Power Outages in a Heatwave
The Big StoryApril 28, 202200:12:01

Explainer: Why India Is Witnessing Power Outages in a Heatwave

If you, like me, have caught yourself multiple times a day complaining about how this year is hotter than the last, you are not alone.

March 2022 has been India’s third warmest March since 1901 and there have been at least 26 heat waves since the start of March, which can last for anywhere between 4-10 days. 

On 11 April, Delhi broke a 72-year-old record with the temperature hitting 42.6 degrees Celsius. And the absence of summer rains, which usually keeps a check on the heat, has also made the heat worse.

While climate change is one of the main reasons why it is so hot, what has made it even more frustrating is the constant power cuts which are occurring across the country. As per the power ministry's own data, 14 out of 36 states and union territories are currently facing a power shortage. 

And there are multiple reasons behind this power crunch, with the most obvious one being record-high power demands in this scorching heat. 

As the country witnesses a revival of the economy due to declining COVID cases, businesses have started operating at full capacity, adding to the power requirement. 

But the big reason behind the power cuts is the shortage of coal in India. Barely six months ago in October 2021, we saw a similar crisis, with several states facing electricity outages due to prolonged monsoon.

But why is India witnessing a power crunch again in the summers? What is leading to this constant power outage? And what is causing this heat?

To understand this, we spoke to Sudiep Shrivastava, Chhattisgarh-based lawyer and activist; Sanjay Vashisht, Director, Climate Action Network South Asia; and Dr Narendra Taneja, a leading energy expert.

Host and Producer: Himmat Shaligram
Editor: Shelly Walia

Music: Big Bang Fuzz

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