Sunday, January 8, 2012

Are we running short of LPG? How about electricity instead?

“Ting-ting! Tang-tong!” empty LPG cylinders fall in line one after another near Motithang BOD. There were men, women and children in casuals guiding their cylinders through the line. One person one cylinder became a norm ever since its supply turned out acute.  This has attracted whole family members in some cases to experience the early morning cold of January month.

“Ting-clang,” I placed my cylinder from behind. There were already fifty cylinders ahead of mine. Unlike Throm Wangs and other public gatherings, people behaved more civil here. Oh yes! Those heavy cylinders probably prevented such a wild rush. Thanks. The line moved unhindered.

My family owns two such cylinders. It became two when my wife and I became one. Since then they’ve been serving us adequately.

Last couple of days saw repeated reminders from my wife and our helper cousin to replenish gas in the kitchen. Every time I get a reminder, I dialed 17666000 – a home delivery service. But every time I was prompted with, “number switched off.” Short supply meant no home delivery that triggered number to switch off.

That day, I had to rush to Motithang first instead of going to office. It was exactly 9 o’clock when I placed my cylinder in line. It took about 45 minutes to dispense 50 odd cylinders in front of me. Unfortunately stock ran short the moment my turn came. I looked back. There were another 50 cylinders behind me. What a hard luck? I thought.

Then there was a rumor among the crowd, “Another truck has already reached Kala Bazar.” Another 15 minutes wait saw the truck loaded with filled LPG Cylinders Park in front of me. I paid Nu. 478.00 and took my share.

Just one outlet for whole of Thimphu’s population, shows just how acute it has become now. Some have come all the way from Babesa. This has been happening since last few weeks ago. And if this continues, it’s high time that we think of other options. 

When I say other options, it is not about going back to those 70s and 80s with fuel wood but cheap hydropower definitely strikes my mind. I would prefer electricity if it really comes cheap. But is it really cheap? I wonder. Currently my normal monthly electricity consumption ranges from Nu. 400.00 to Nu. 800.00. And if I add an electric stove to my kitchen, will it remain within my manageable expenses. At the moment a cylinder (Nu. 478.00) of LPG runs my family for two months. I find it cheaper as compared to electricity. But LPG is perishable energy source and not so eco-friendly.

In a country, that advocates environmental conservation and preservation are we not then environmentally conscious citizens individually. I am and therefore I would prefer electricity over LPG. But, how do we encourage use of electricity? Make it little cheaper or think of subsidies or any incentives? I don’t know.

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