Urges Prime Minister to advise the authorities to postpone the plan

Chief Minister Jayalalithaa on Sunday urged Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to advise the authorities to postpone the proposal for tightening of the electricity grid frequency bandwidth when the demand-supply situation and inter-State connectivity in the country improved.

The proposal, sought to be implemented for ensuring the grid stability, was “unwarranted” when the grid stability had not been adversely affected in the recent past with the existing frequency bandwidth and in view of the prevailing power shortage situation in the country.

The move would subject the Tamil Nadu Generation and Distribution Corporation (TANGEDCO), a successor-entity of the Tamil Nadu Electricity Board (TNEB), to a severe financial stress to the extent of Rs. 350 crore every year. Besides, “this may result in increasing the duration of enforced load shedding in Tamil Nadu causing irreparable loss to consumers, particularly in rural areas, which may adversely affect agricultural production and the economic growth of the State,” she said in her letter to Dr. Singh.

When the country was facing severe power shortage and the Union government was finding it difficult to achieve even 50 per cent of the planned capacity addition target, “the directive of the Central Electricity Regulatory Commission for tightening the grid frequency is likely to play havoc with the power utilities, especially in Tamil Nadu, which is already facing severe transmission congestion problems,” Ms Jayalalithaa said.

The proposal envisaged restricting the operating grid frequency bandwidth of 49.5 Hz-50.2 Hz to 49.7 Hz to 50.2 Hz in the name of ensuring grid stability.

“The Unscheduled Interchange (UI) charges at the minimum frequency of operation proposed are also raised from Rs.8.73 per unit to Rs.9 per unit. The cost of power drawn at frequency below the set level would further increase the cost of power to the utility,” she said.

In January, State Electricity Minister [Natham R. Viswanathan] took up the issue with Union Power Minister but it was of no avail. Considering the damage that would be caused to the power utilities, the TANGEDCO had been forced to move the Madras High Court for an interim relief, she added.