Despite the scheduled load shedding being only two hours, power cuts have begun to exceed five hours every day in southern districts with supply increasingly become erratic and unpredictable, complain residents and industrialists.
A few months back, both scheduled and unscheduled load shedding was confined between 6 a.m. and 6 p.m., residents said and now they were facing power cuts even after 6 p.m. almost daily.
Tamil Nadu Small and Tiny Industries Association (TANSTIA) vice-president KR. Gnanasambandan told The Hindu here on Monday that while power cuts have forced industries to work at 50 per cent production, the interest of bank loans, salaries and rents still have to be paid in full.
Apart from the five hours, the HT industries face another four hours in peak hour restrictions as they cannot draw power from the grid between 6 p.m. and 10 p.m. “The Government must pump in funds into TANGEDCO to enable them to buy power from private power producers,” he added. M.R. Rajendran, president of Kappalur Industrial Estate Manufacturers' Association, which has around 300 small units employing 12,000 workers in the estate, said that they faced almost six hours of power cuts on Sunday (December 4). The small industries need assured hours of power supply, failing which they will have to close down, which would lead to mass unemployment.. He added that power officials here had assured of solving the problem at the earliest and provide uninterrupted power supply during fixed hours.
P. Sitaraman, founder-president and current executive committee member of Plastic Manufacturers Association of Madurai (PLASMA), said that wastage had exceeded 10 per cent in continuous process industries such as plastic, thereby threatening the economic viability of many units. “We are defaulting on orders as production process has been crippled and the labourers are being paid to sit idle. Plastic units are wasting considerable amount of power on pre-heating thereby increasing costs ,” he added.
If the small industries are to survive, the State Government must bring out a white paper on the power position, and bring about a system of assured power supply. The authorities cannot take refuge behind the decreased power generation from wind mills as the wind season was only between May and October, he added.