Heavy rain, increased power cuts in Chennai provide relief

Load shedding in the State has come down by half in the past five days due to the combination of heavy rain and increased power cuts in Chennai, the city that accounts for the highest electricity consumption in Tamil Nadu.

Rains have reduced the use of energy-intensive air-conditioners and agriculture pump sets, which alone are estimated to account for 20 per cent of the total demand in the State, Tamil Nadu Generation and Distribution Corporation (TANGEDCO) sources told The Hindu on Monday.

According to data from Tamil Nadu Transmission Corporation, the sister entity of TANGEDCO, the relief (power saving) obtained through load shedding fell to 21.339 million units (MU) on Sunday (October 21) from 47.975 million units on Wednesday (October 17). Load shedding in Chennai was doubled to two hours on Thursday.

Giving a conservative estimate, a senior official said TANGEDCO, Madurai Region, comprising Madurai, Theni, Sivaganga, Dinidgul and Ramanathapuram had nearly two lakh agriculture connections, while the State-wide total is around 19 lakh connections.

As agriculture service connections are unmetered, the official said, an accurate estimate of the relief from reduced use of pump sets was difficult to make.

Drastic reduction

Over the past four days, load shedding in urban circles had been restricted to two hours during day time and another hour during the night. Rural areas were experiencing a total of around four hours, the sources said.

This was a drastic reduction from the peak of 14-16 hours of power cuts experienced recently across the State with the exception of Chennai.

Another positive upshot from the rains was the increased water storage in dams, which have also reduced outflows. The stored water could be used to generate hydro power at a later date when the demand increases, an official said.

The total demand in the State stood at 7,406 MW on Monday morning, down from 7,721 MW on Wednesday morning (October 17).

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