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Updated: August 24, 2012 11:45 IST

Power crisis worsens in south

R. Sairam
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An ATM on East Masi Street in the city was closed, owing to a power cut on Thursday. Photo: S. James
The Hindu
An ATM on East Masi Street in the city was closed, owing to a power cut on Thursday. Photo: S. James

Nine-hour power cut for the second consecutive day

The power crisis in southern districts worsened on Wednesday with the region facing a second consecutive day of power cuts exceeding nine hours.

After enduring another night in which power supply was intermittent throughout, residents were on the edge with no information forthcoming from local sub-stations.

With wind season drawing to a close, power generation from wind sources has begun to plummet.

Industry bodies are urging Tamil Nadu Generation and Distribution Corporation (TANGEDCO) to prepare contingency plans for the post-wind season, when the State loses between 2,000 MW and 3,000 MW generated daily by the wind mills.

Load shedding undertaken by TANGEDCO has also increased sharply in recent days as the relief obtained through this increased sharply from 24 million units (MU) on Monday to 44 MU Tuesday and finally to 60 million units on Wednesday.

Tamil Nadu Small and Tiny Industries Association (TANSTIA) vice-president KR. Gnanasambandan told The Hindu that with the wind power, by nature, being volatile and seasonal, the industry had been pressing TANGEDCO to have a back-up plan for over the two years now.

Viable option

The only viable option now was utilising the captive power plants and diesel generators of large industries, whose capacity alone amount to over 5,000 MW.

The State Government must either provide subsidised diesel or buy power from the companies at a higher rate, he added.

P. Sitaraman, founder-president and executive committee member of Plastic Manufacturers’ Association of Madurai (PLASMA), said that while the power situation was normal in the last two months, it had worsened in the past few days.

The incessant power cuts were driving up the production costs, which was compounding the problems of small units already hit hard by the economic recession.

12-hour power cut

M.R. Rajendran, president of Kappalur Industrial Estate Manufacturers’ Association, where around 300 small units employing 12,000 workers are located, said that on Wednesday, they faced nearly 12 hours of power cuts.

A similar situation was developing on Thursday also with the TANGEDCO officials also unable to provide any information that would enable the small industries to plan their production.

If this were to continue, he expressed apprehension that the SIDCO industrial estate at Kappalur was likely to be closed down.

Another consequence of this power cuts has been that bank customers, who are depending on Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) due to the bank strike, were facing problems as many ATMs in the city remained closed due to power cuts.

A senior official in the TANGEDCO Madurai region said that power authorities were pinning their hopes on getting the entire power generation of first unit of Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project (KKNPP) besides the early commission of the new units at Mettur Thermal (600 MW),

North Chennai (600 MW) and the TNEB-NTPC (2 x 500 MW) joint venture power plants to offset the loss of wind power after the season.

The TANGEDCO Madurai region comprises the five southern districts of Madurai, Dindigul, Theni, Sivaganga and Ramanathapuram.

As on July 31, Tamil Nadu, with a total installed capacity of 7,084.175 MW, continues to occupy the first place in India in harnessing of wind energy, accounting for 40 per cent of the country’s total capacity of 17,389.31 MW.

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