A 28-year-old electrician living in Kanpur is renowned for his prowess in stealing electricity. He is a robin-hood figure, stealing electricity and charging the rich to provide free connections in impoverished neighborhoods. In the face of day-long power-cuts, he runs illegal connections from one neighborhood to another so that homes, factories and businesses could function normally. On the other hand, the city administration is renewing efforts to clamp down on power-theft, which costs them millions of rupees in losses each year. Yearly drives to remove illegal connections are met with street protests and anger. In the meantime, lack of electricity drives people to use generators run on fossil fuels. This is choking the town, making Kanpur one of the most polluted cities in India. A picture emerges of a modern dystopia encompassing urban decay and desperation in the lack of electricity. Underlying the localized crisis in Kanpur, India’s leather capital, which provides raw material to major western brands, is the glaring energy poverty in the country, where a third of the population is bereft of this basic need, and the rest grapple with power-cuts that dictate their own terms. Powerless puts a lens to an unexplored narrative of one of the world’s fastest developing economies.