Douwe Osinga's Blog: India goes where the EU stumbles

Monday, January 21, 2008

A couple of years ago, the European commission set out to solve the electricity problem in Europe. No, not the generation, transport or associated green house effect issues. They wanted to unify power plugs across Europe. It was felt that the fact that if you unplug your computer in Italy, travel to Germany (or indeed a different part of Italy), it was unacceptable that you wouldn’t be able to plug in again in your new locale.

The European Union has many different power plugs in use, indeed, but since France, Germany and the Low Countries all use the same type of plug, it might seem obvious that if you want to standardize, you might as well go with the on in over half of the union. Not so. See, that would give some an unfair advantage over others, so the commission set out to design a new standard that would be equally bad for all. Luckily people saw that madness of this proposal and it disappeared soon into the drawer where it belonged.

India has similar problems. There are maybe three standards of plugs, but in a center of IT like Hyderabad, the number rises quickly to 5 or 6 if you count the different plugs all those foreigners bring in. So in Hyderabad the sockets just have many, many holes and will fit just about any plug, like a universal power adaptor that you can buy on the airport at excessive prices. It’s brilliant and really the way to go for the European Union. Don’t solve the plugs, solve the sockets. Universal power sockets would allow anybody from any country to plug in in any country.

Now, who again do you call when you want to call Europe?


Sruji said...

Good observation and apparently it is the most positive note about India in your blog.