Crowdsourcing Power Cuts in India

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The project aims to crowdsource, primarily from twitter (more mediums soon), information about the Power Cuts happening in India starting this summer. The primary aim of the website is to collect data from people and make it accessible in various formats and make it available back for public use. The data is crow sourced and belongs to the crowd i.e. Public Domain Dedication and License. Please feel free to download the data and play around with it and if you happen to put it to some good use / visualise it in some creative form do share the link with us here.

Project Roadmap - PowerCutsIN Project Roadmap

Medium/Ways of Reporting

There are currently 4 ways people can report power cuts:

Reporting Format


  • Twitter report should contain Four parts at least. One is the Main hashtag #PowerCutIndia. Two: Type of report i.e. the Category. Three: Location from where you are reporting. Four: Time/Duration
  • Part 1 - Main hashtag - #powercutindia - this is the tag that tells us its something we should look into. So this is essential for our system to pick up your report automatically. You can also use #PowerCutsIN or #PowerCutsIndia. So you have 3 options for this. Use anyone at least.
  • Part 2 - Categories:
    • #unplanned - for unplanned power cut.
    • #planned - if you know the cut happens regularly or it was informed in advance to you by the Electric company by some means.
    • #voltage - If you are reporting a voltage fluctuation problem.
    • #good - If you are reporting a good news related to the power situation in your area.
    • #comments - if you are only posting a comment or view/opinion from your location about the power situation in your area.
    • #daily - for incidents that occur daily. You can tag your report with this category in combination with others as well.
    • #theft - for theft related reports.
  • Part 3 - Location - #loc (Not required if you have GeoTagging enabled)
    • #loc followed by the street name, city name for e.g. #loc Sarita Vihar, New Delhi (please note there is a comma between the street name/locality and the city name).
  • Part 4 - Time/Duration - #start-> start time. #back->end time.
    • If you are tweeting exactly when the power cut occurred, no need to include the #start. We can pick it up from the time of your tweet.
    • If you are reporting after the power returns. Make sure you include both #start and #back time. For e.g. #powercutindia #unplanned #start 9 PM #back 10 PM #loc Sarita Vihar, New Delhi
  • Example tweets:
    • #powercutindia #unplanned #start 0900 PM #back 1000 PM #loc Colony 4, T Nagar, Chennai
    • #powercutindia #comments In my area the transformer blows off everytime there is rain #loc Colony 5, Street 4, Sarita Vihar, new Delhi
    • #PowerCutIndia #theft Saw a factory pulling off electricity off the pole in #loc Paschim Vihar, New Delhi
    • #PowerCutIndia #unplanned #loc Prem Nagar, Delhi 6 - followed by another tweet - #PowerCutIndia #back only when the power comes back.


  • Report anonymously from the website or using the smartphone app if you are concerned about your location privacy/identity.
  • We are currently working on ensuring that reports do not contain or link to individual person who reports.
  • Since twitter is a public medium, if you tweet your location or even geotag your tweets, you are sharing your location with the world already.
  • If you report using any other means, we do not publish your phone number etc nor share it with any third party.

Ways to Help

How we plan to use the data

Team of Contributors

Site Setup & Application Admin

Website customisation, hosting, setup, code customisations and tweaks, categories, adding new features, database administration etc.

  • Ajay Kumar - @ajuonline - in case of tech issues or questions about the project, please ping him by email on <mail at ajuonline dot net>. The website is hosted using the @FreeMindsIN infrastructure.

List of Star Reporters

List of people who regularly update information on power cuts from their location by sending it to us. This helps us not only keep a count of power cuts, but the frequency of power cuts happening in each location. They are our star because they do it regularly! We check this on a weekly basis and publish at the end of each Sunday.

  1. Twitter user @_mridul from Lucknow - Sunday 08-05-2011

List of Moderators

People who help us manage incoming reports submitted by anyone, check for any errors and publish them on the website.

  • Shefaly Yogendra - @shefaly - Ping her in case you are willing to volunteer to join the moderation team.
  • @prolificd Ping him in case you are willing to volunteer to join the moderation team.
  • Ajay Kumar - @ajuonline - Moderators in case of questions/problems please ping/email.
  • Asmita Sinha @asmita
  • Mridul K Verma @_mridul
  • Raghvendra Saboo - @saboorag
  • Gagan Jain - @Gagan
  • Arpit Agarwal - @arpit
  • Piyush Nahata - @piyushn
  • Chirdeep Chhabra
  • Augustine Correa
  • Sanjeev Kumar @mesanjeeve
  • Netra Parikh @Netra
  • Abhishek Gour

List of Data Analysts

List of people who analyse the data and publish in various formats.


What's an initiative without people spreading the word about it? Here is a list of people who help spread the word and help us reach out. (Based on the Hashtag report stats showing top ten twitter users with max tweet impressions to their followers for e.g. )

On Twitter


Data Stats


24 hour report stats of Twitter trend

  • Hashtracking report for #powercutindia 85 tweets generated 33,587 impressions, reaching an audience of 18,979 followers within the past 24 hours Generated Thu May 19 2011 13:06:43 GMT+0100 (BST)
  • Hashtracking report for #powercutindia reaching an audience of 98,642 followers in the past 24 hours 157,367 impressions at around May 5 1822 Hours based on approx 1000 Tweets. Click link for latest stats.
  • Hashtracking report for #powercutindia 74 tweets generated 83,817 impressions, reaching an audience of 48,956 followers within the past 24 hours. Calculated from up to about 1,000 tweets | Generated Fri May 06 2011 19:56:55 GMT+0530 (India Standard Time)
  • Hashtracking report for #powercutindia 10 tweets generated 6,047 impressions, reaching an audience of 3,164 followers within the past 24 hours Calculated from up to about 1,000 tweets | Generated Fri May 08 2011 23:38:00 GMT+0530 (India Standard Time)

Website Stats

As of 28 Jul 2012 - 12:16 GMT Generated by Awstats. (from date of site launch May 4 2011)

  • Cumulative # of Hits = 26,72,210


History/Timeline of Events (as per IST)

  • May 4 2011 03:13 PM - @netra tweets "Power Cut! #santacruz #Mumbai"
  • May 4 2011 03:15 PM - @nixxin replies "If Delhi-NCR started tweeting power cuts like this, it would trend in India all year"
  • May 4 2011 03:17 PM - @shefaly replied "May be you guys SHOULD tweet #powercut with location. The infographic will highlight the need for investment. To many people.
  • May 4 2011 03:25 PM - @nixxin sends out a call "Please Tweet if there's a power cut in your area in India this summer; Someone can map it. Format <area> #powercutindia (idea frm @Shefaly)"
  • May 4 2011 03:37 PM - @ajuonline asks @nixxin "where will this mapped?"
  • May 4 2011 03:41 PM - @ajuonline replies to @nixxin "I am setting up the site. It should be up in 5 :)"
  • Site setup by @ajuonline precisely at May 04, 2011 15:41. Data copyright or license was decided as "Public Domain" since its a data generated by people.
  • People were sending in a lot of ideas and suggestions etc and even questioning whats the point of this. So on May 5, 2011 12:29 PM @ajuonline created this open document where people can post their thoughts, suggestions, recommendations. Crowdsourcing put to use again.
  • For the first 48 hours, @ajuonline was moderating and publishing the incoming reports by himself until it became too much to handle. There were so many tweets. Sent out a call for help for volunteers to everyone and @shefaly.
  • @shefaly agreed to help manage volunteers and @ajuonline assigned her the "Admin" role in the backend so that she could add new volunteers and assign them access to the system to approve and publish incoming reports.
  • Thanks to so many twitter users the hashtag has spread far and wide among the Indian twitter community.
  • @ajuonline added a Hindi tagline to the website - "बिजली सताए तो हमें बताएं"
  • 13:01, 8 May 2011 @ajuonline changed the data license to Public Domain Dedication and License.
  • @ajuonline - added News feed from main stream media about "Power Cut issue in India" at the bottom of the twitter wall on the main site.
  • 10:49 AM May 9 2011, booked the name - @ajuonline
  • Upgraded code from Ushahidi trunk. Now running latest trunk version. - @ajuonline
  • Completed database move and migration of site to - @ajuonline
  • Added endtime plugin by John Etherton, thanks to him for the help with the instructions. - @ajuonline
  • Setup reporting by email. - @ajuonline
  • ~03:00 PM May 9 2011: Created Facebook page Like @PowerCutsIN on FB - @shefaly
  • Exact twitter timeline snapshot
  • Powercutindia-history.jpg

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

  • What do the dots on the map show?
    • Current they show the count of all powercut reports received from that location. Click on the dot to see individual report from that location.
  • What is a correct format to send a report?
  • Can I report using SMS?
    • Soon. Testing done. Public announcement soon.
  • What difference does recording power cuts make?
  • Did you develop this application?
    • The website uses Free and Open Source software called Ushahidi. Code tweaks/customisation and website hosting done by @ajuonline.
  • How did this start?

People talking about

1. Times Of India [1]

2. Penn Olson [2]

3. PC World [3]

4. CIO [4]

5. One India (Tamil) [5]

6. My Bangalore [6]

7. Trak.In (India business blog) [7]

8. The Daily Dot [8]

9. WiredCPU [9]

10. TechGoss [10]

11. Yahoo News [11]

12. Live News India [12]

13. [13]

14. Geo-spatial World [14]

15. Social Media Guru [15]

16. Outriders - BBC Radio 5 live [16] MP3 File of the Podcast [17]

17. The Hindu (Print/Web) - [18] & [19]

18. Medianama - [20]

19. Info Change India - Frederick Noronha [21]

20. Design Public Blog - [22]

21. Shefaly Yogendra's Blog - [23]

22. Directory - [24]

23. BBC's Social Media for Social Good [TV/Web] - [25] Air Date: TV: India June 19 2011. Web: June 24 2011.

24. Geospatial Today - July 2011 Edition (Print) - "Moving beyond networking" - PDF of the article - File:Moving-beyond-networking-geospatial-today-july-2011.pdf

25. Crowdsourcing in India Blog - [26]

26. Students from College of Journalism and Mass Communication - University of Nebraska-Lincoln - Story by Kay Kemmet with additional reporting by Matt Heng - [27]

27. - [28]

28. Official Ushahidi Blog - [29] at Events

1. Ajay Kumar - June 5, 2011 - presented about, Actionable Data & Crowdsourcing - Technology, Accountability & Transparency Camp at Google office in Gurgaon.

2. Heather Leson - June 10, 2011 - showed at Net Change Week (NCW), Canada’s premier event on social tech for social change. View Slides here

3. Ajay Kumar - October 2, 2011 - talked about at Barcamp Mumbai 7

4. Ajay Kumar - July 21, 2012 - talked about at mBillionth South Asia Award 2012 and won the award under m-News & Journalism Category.