Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Rich Power

I do not usually frequent malls – this is my preference. So when I do, I am stunned and appalled at the shocking display and abuse of power - I  mean electric power. I decided to explore this further, especially in the context of our power hungry, and rapidly nuclearising nation.

So how much power does it take to run a single mall? Typically in Bangalore the number is around 4 MW –  let us see what these numbers actually mean: 4 Mega Watt  = 4000 Kilo Watt which is equivalent to lighting 40,000  100 Watt bulbs. So, during working hours, each mall consumes a power equivalent of forty thousand light bulbs!! And, shopping malls guzzle power during entire day unlike most Indian households which turn on lights mainly at night. For about 25 malls in the city  this means a million light bulbs lit during an entire day, each day, for the entire year, just so that the rich may shop in brightly illuminated, privileged spaces.

In Bangalore, with a population of about 8.5 million, between 9-11% live in urban slums i.e. roughly a million people. Most slums have erratic and limited power supply, even at night; some are not connected to the grid at all. So, the million light bulbs in the malls could instead light a million homes of our poor, or run their water pumps or reduce load shedding in homes; we could even limit ourselves to creating less damaging power - like  nuclear or thermal power plants or with large dams.

The bottom line is" Why should shopping or entertaining the rich of this city replace lighting requirement of a million homes?"

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