Power cuts for small-scale and cottage industries in the State are being lifted from May 15.

Power utilities announced this decision following a direction issued by Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy to provide relief to this category of industries which provide employment to lakhs of people.

The duration of the power cuts has already been reduced from eight hours to six hours in mandal headquarters following slight improvement in the availability of power.

It has already been decided to lift the ban on giving new connections to industries from May 15.

The Chief Minister wanted the officials to reduce the duration of the power cut for rural areas being implemented for nearly 12 hours a day. He sought steps to maintain a minimum daily supply of 240-250 million units.

Officials claimed before the Chief Minister that a no single acre of crop had dried up in the State during the just-concluded rabi season because of proper supply to the farm sector, though at the cost of the domestic and industrial consumers.

They told him that the situation would improve from October when additional capacity would start joining the grid from the new plants of Krishnapatnam (800 MW), Bhoopalapalli (600 MW) and Hindujas (Visakhapatnam, 520 MW).

The Chief Minister approved the unit price finalised by the Cabinet Sub-Committee on power issues at Rs. 6.49 per unit to procure power from solar plants planned.

An AP Transco official said letters would be issued to developers of solar units from Monday, offering this price and asking them to indicate the location of their plant.

It may be recalled that as many as 331 bids have been received from developers seeking to set up solar plants for an installed capacity 1,780 MW, though the tenders were called only for 1,000 MW.