E. Suresh, a rice mill owner from Maduranthangam in Kancheepuram district, is quite clear what model he needs while checking out inverters at a shop on Ritchie Street. “Not many people in my town have an inverter, but power cuts are so erratic. Every day it goes off for at least two hours. This would provide the backup for two fans and lights,” he says.
With frequent power cuts, an inverter has become a necessity than a luxury in most homes. According to an industry survey, 30,000 inverters are sold in a month in the State during the offseason, while in summer about 75,000 gadgets are sold. “In Chennai, during off season 10,000 inverters are sold when compared to 20,000 in the season,” says S. Selvakumar, CEO, Maruthi Power Control Systems.
With the Tamil Nadu Generation and Distribution Corporation announcing one-hour of load-shedding every day across the city, dealers of inverters and generators say the demand is only bound to pick up. Since 2008, when the government first announced load-shedding, these power back-up supply systems have become a necessity in many households.
Dealers say the demand for inverters has not reached its peak this time as many localities in the city are yet to witness the compulsory load-shedding and the unseasonal showers is giving time for people to take a decision to buy one. However, many store owners on Ritchie Street say they have more customers from the outskirts coming to buy.
There has only been a slight increase in price of inverters, but since 2007 there is an increase of 75 per cent in the price of batteries, says Mr. Selvakumar.
“Since the load-shedding was announced, I have been getting 40 to 50 calls a day and 10 per cent translates to business,” says Sanjay M. Patel, owner of a store in Parry's. He says, this time, requirement came in from small IT firms and showrooms. These are priced between Rs. 16,000 and Rs. 1.5 lakh offering 0.5 KVA to 5 KVA rating. A good number of residential projects today offer power back-up as a value-added feature.
“Look for tubular battery, which increases the shelf life of batteries, needs less maintenance and offers consistency in back-up power,” he says.