"India has outgrown its own infrastructure," said Jagannadham Thunuguntla, a strategist at SMC Global Securities.
India's Central Electricity Authority reported power deficits of more than 8 percent in recent months, and many economists said the power deficit is dragging down India's economy.
"Without power we cannot run an economy at 8 percent, 9 percent growth or whatever your ambition is," Chakraborty said.
Part of the problem is that India relies on coal for more than half its power generation and the coal supply is controlled by a near state monopoly that is widely considered a shambles.
A recent survey showed nearly all the coal-fueled plants had less than seven days of coal stock, a critical level, said Chakraborty, and many of the country's power plants were running below capacity. Government bureaucracy has made it difficult to bring more plants online.
In addition, vast amounts of power bleeds out of India's antiquated distribution system or is pirated through unauthorized wiring. Farmers, with a guarantee of free electricity that is driving many state electric boards to bankruptcy, have no incentive to conserve energy.
The power deficit was worsened this year by a weak monsoon that lowered hydroelectric generation, spurred farmers to use pumps to irrigate their fields long after the rains would normally have come and kept temperatures higher, keeping air conditioners and fans running longer.
The opposition said officials should have located the first fault and fixed it before getting the whole system back on line Monday.
"The power minister owes an answer to the prime minister, owes an answer to the nation why this is happening," Bharatiya Janata Party spokesman Prakash Javadekar said.
Instead, as part of a planned Cabinet shuffle, Shinde was promoted in the middle of the day to the powerful job of home minister, putting him in charge of the nation's internal security even as the power crisis dragged on.
By contrast, the power chief in the state of Uttar Pradesh was summarily fired by his chief minister Monday for his handling of the first power crisis.
Associated Press writer Nasr ul Hadi contributed to this report from New Delhi and Prasanta Pal contributed from Kolkata.
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