Booming India Is Starved for Power

Chronic electricity shortages belie booming economy
By Colleen Barry,  Newser Staff
Posted May 21, 2007 8:35 AM CDT
INDIA. With the floods comes the danger of electrocution as the rising waters come intocontact with live wires. Illegal tapping into the gridby many Indians who cannot afford to buy elect (LON65894)   (Magnum Photos)
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(Newser) – India's economy is growing so fast it has outstripped its electrical capacity, leaving burgeoning businesses, industries and homes to generate their own power with soot-belching diesel-powered generators for hours every day. Half of India's populace has no connection to the grid at all, and new construction often goes up without any plan for supplying electricity.

The Indian government estimates demand outstrips supply by 20%, but that's conservative, the New York Times reports. Coal is the main source of power, and even planned increases in the amount and nuclear and alternative energy production only bring them up to 9% and 8%, respectively, of the country's total production. "We're living in the Dark Ages," complained one citizen.