Focus is on completing several power projects

Even as three major thermal power stations in Tamil Nadu continued to perform better than the national average during April 2011-March 2012, the State, as a whole, recorded the highest energy deficit of 8,980 million units (MU) in five years.

In 2006-2007, the State experienced energy deficit of 1,054 MU. In the next three years, this varied from 1,826 MU in 2007-2008 to 5,213 MU in 2010-2011, according to data on energy requirement and availability of the State in the last five years, as available on the Central Electricity Authority (CEA)'s website.

Inadequate capacity addition over the years coupled with the widening gap between demand and supply has led to the problem of power shortage. Now, greater focus is being paid to the expeditious completion of several power generation projects.

As for the power production of the Mettur, Tuticorin and North Chennai thermal power stations, the plants, once again, performed higher than the national average of plant load factor (PLF). Their PLF figures were well ahead of the national average of 73.46 per cent for coal-fired thermal power stations.

There was no element of surprise as the three stations, at least in the last three years, did better.

In 2009-2010, against the national average of 77.5 per cent, the PLF figures of North Chennai, Mettur and Tuticorin were 87.6 per cent, 86.7 per cent and 77.9 per cent. The next year, the three stations' PLF figures were 81.74 per cent, 82.4 per cent and 77.29 per cent against the national figure of 75.07 per cent.

The Ennore thermal power station was the exception to the State-wide pattern of higher PLF as it had been plagued by chronic problems. Its PLF was 22.6 per cent during 2011-2012.

The State government, a few months ago, decided to dismantle it and go in for a fresh plant.