‘The holiday move will spell a doom for MSME units’

The once-a-week power holiday declared by Eastern Power Distribution Company of AP Ltd (APEPDCL) has left the industrialists in north Andhra fuming.

Angered by the launching of power holiday this season, they fear that the move might lead to increase in frequency with the onset of summer under the plea of ‘worsening power crisis in the State’ notwithstanding the fact that Andhra Pradesh is set to be divided.

APEPDCL on Saturday received instructions from AP Transco to regulate power supply – increase load relief to domestic and commercial consumers from two to three hours a day in the city and introduce weekly once power holiday on different zones on different days for the industries. “We are not able to overcome the setback we did face during the last season due to three-days-a-week power holiday. The present move will spell doom to MSME units, on which thousands are dependent for their livelihood,” said Visakha Autonagar Small-Scale Industrialists’ Welfare Association president Ramakrishna Narappareddy.

Industrialists, whom The Hindu contacted, are seething with anger over the move. “This will not augur well for attracting investments in the residual State of Andhra Pradesh. As a special case, the government must ensure uninterrupted supply of power. How can manufacturing and process industries function with such power outages,” asked CII Vizag zone chairman G. Sambasiva Rao.

Daily supply

When contacted, APEPDCL Director (Operations) P. Ram Mohan said the power regulation was a ‘temporary’ measure and they would withdraw it once the power supply situation improved.

Though the daily supply is to the extent of 42.85 million units, the shortfall is three million units necessitating power cuts in some form or the other. The State has installed capacity of 17,000 MW but it could generate around 11,000 MW due to severe shortage of gas. Five gas-based power plants, despite their failure to produce power, are being paid crores of rupees as part of power purchase agreement, which is being strongly opposed by industrialists. Another handicap for the State is the absence of transmission corridor between Northern and Southern grids to allow import of surplus power. A Transco official said the commissioning of transmission line between Sholapur and Raichur was expected to solve the problem from July.

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