Solar panels on a roof top

As temperatures reach record highs across India, tempers are also heating up as the current power production and distribution fails to deliver basic needs of cooling and water pumping. Protests are springing up in Delhi against the increased prices of power and water and highlighting threats to women's safety. It has been shown in many places that when you bring light then people, particularly women, feel safer.

Last week in Uttar Pradesh protesters set fire to a power station resulting in 21 people being arrested. Violence is wrong, but the anger of the people is completely understandable as they see that successive administrations have failed to provide reliable, affordable power for everyday use.

There is anger too here in Delhi where power cuts and blackouts continue despite the fact that Chief Minister, Shiela Dixit, promised to deliver uninterrupted power 24/7. Tariffs are also at their highest – it seems that the more people pay, the less power they are getting. The Chief Minister blames the power distribution (DISCOMS) but the reality is that she has made a promise which she cannot keep. One could fairly ask the Chief Minister 'where is her plan to deliver power 24/7?' 'Where is the White Paper outlining how she will ensure the people of Delhi receive power for their basic needs?'

The reality is that as long as the current electricity production from coal and inefficient distribution systems remain in place, the longer that people will suffer from unreliable, inefficient power. Add to this the corruption in the coal industry and parts of the government then it is no wonder that people are angry.

The other reason people are angry is that, at a deep level, most know that it doesn't have to be like this. There is an answer which is available, reliable, clean and cost effective – solar power uses the power of the sun – which will never run out – and does not damage the environment, people's health or their livelihoods. All that is needed are politicians to understand that India's future economic progress as well as the safety and comfort of their own people, need the new modern technology that uses the sun to provide power.

Shiela Dixit could easily keep her promise if she adopted visionary policies that support the expansion of renewable energy systems, particularly solar which is more applicable in the Dehi urban situation.

What the people need is quite simple - reliable, affordable power to meet their basic needs and, in summer, with temperatures reaching record highs, we just need to keep the fans on and the AC running.

It's not much to ask? Let's tell the Chief Minister how she can keep her promise to the people of Delhi. Sign the petition here.


Paul Horsman is a Climate & Energy Campaigner with Greenpeace International.