Andrew Buncombe: Delhi is a city where connections count for a lot

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The Independent Online

As with so many things in Delhi, one's access to an uninterrupted supply of electricity is inextricably linked to wealth, status and connections.

VIPs living in the white bungalows of New Delhi designed by Edward Lutyens almost never have to think about power-cuts. Coming under the control of the New Delhi Municipal Corporation, they enjoy a steady supply of power and benefit from additional sub-stations.

Those living in areas controlled by the Municipal Corporation of Delhi are less fortunate. To counter this, the wealthiest install diesel generators that can run everything from fridges to air-conditioners.

Down from them are those of us lucky enough to have so-called inverters, essentially a large battery that sits in the cupboard and can power a fan, light and laptop for a few hours. They are better than nothing, but on a June afternoon when the mercury touches 45C, all it means is having burning hot air blown into your face and a keyboard too hot to touch.

Then there is the overwhelming majority of people who have no back-up. While the situation has eased in the past couple of years, they long ago learnt to get used to power cuts of between two hours to half the day, depending where they live.

Connections also count, or so people think. When we moved to our neighbourhood four years ago, we were assured we would experience just modest cuts (which, apart from the summer of 2010, was true). "You see," we were told, "the neighbour at the back is a member of the legislative assembly."