Load shedding duration may continue for the next few months, say officials

After a few weeks of respite, the long hours of load shedding are back in Madurai.

According to officials from the Tamil Nadu Generation and Distribution Corporation (Tangedco), rise in wind power generation provided the respite till last week. There was every likelihood that the load shedding duration would continue in the next few months as the amount of power generated from windmills in the State was on the decline and the situation may not reverse, the officials said.

“This summer, as in the previous years, the duration of power cut will continue to be long as there would be no power generation by wind mills. On Monday and Tuesday this week, the wind power generation was good, resulting in less frequent power cuts, especially at night,” an official said.

The unscheduled load shedding that resumed last week is already a cause for concern among the small scale and medium scale industries. “In the past one week, our employees had to sit idle for two to four hours because of the unannounced power cuts,” said S. Nithyananda Moorthy, an industrialist from Kappalur industrial estate.

“Our dayshift schedule of 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. has been affected. Because there is no power from 6 a.m. to 12 noon and sometimes even till 2 p.m., our working hours have been vastly reduced,” he said.

The power shedding in semi-industrial areas and residential areas are more frequent, resulting in heavy losses to the industrial units located in these areas.

“During the day shift alone there is no electricity for more than five hours. Not many workers are willing to work on night shifts because the power cut duration is longer and they are forced to sit idle for hours together,” said V. Senthilkumar, an industrialist.

“If this situation continues, we may not be able to settle our loans. We are already unable to meet our work orders and are on the verge of losing out to our competitors in Chennai,” he added.

According to M.S. Sampath, secretary of industrial estate association in K. Pudur, profit margins have been severely hit in the case of units that function with the help of generators.

“Power- intensive units such as textile mills are the worst affected. There is no proper schedule in the timing of power cuts and hence we cannot even plan when to switch on the generators. Sometimes the power cut lasts for only half-an-hour and at times for several hours together,” he said.

“We rely on generator sets for six hours a day. The expenditure of operating generators is very high. At night the power cut is very frequent, and the residents suffer the most,” said M. Chandrasekaran, an industrialist from Nagari, a semi-industrial area.

With the Tangedco hinting that no immediate relief is possible, industrialists and residents may have to cope with a worsening power situation this summer.

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