Many parts of the State including Coimbatore, Tirunelveli and Cauvery delta districts are, of late, experiencing load shedding for longer duration. Chennai and some of the surrounding areas have been spared.

In Coimbatore, a senior Tamil Nadu Electricity Board (TNEB) official went on record a few days ago, saying that load shedding for domestic consumers would hereafter be three hours. In the case of Tirunelveli town, three-hour load shedding came into effect a week ago. In the rural pockets of the district, load shedding goes on even for five hours.

As for the delta districts where the system of 16-hour three phase supply for farm pumpsets was announced in late June, the supply is now available for just about six hours, split in two three-hour sessions during day and night. In Madurai region (covering Madurai, Dindigul, Sivaganga, Theni and Ramanathapuram districts), the three-phase supply for farmers during day is halved to three hours with effect from October 9.

[A 20 per cent power cut is in force on high-tension industrial units and commercial establishments. Besides, HT industrial units are covered under peak hour restrictions].

A perusal of load-shedding details for October reveals that since October 8, the quantum of load shedding, as recorded at 7-50 a.m. every day (representing the morning peak demand), fluctuated between 798 megawatt (MW) and 1,717 MW. On Wednesday, it was 1,632 MW. On Thursday, it was 1,172 MW. On both days, the figures of load shedding accounted for 15 per cent to 20 per cent of the morning peak demand met by the TNEB.

Responding to reports of load shedding for longer duration, another senior official of the Board says that sudden fall in the availability of wind power last week coupled with scheduled overhaul of equipment at thermal power stations, under the control of both TNEB and Central utilities, contributed to the present scenario. Approximately, the availability went short by 2,000 MW.

However, once the generation of thermal power units resumes, there will be improvement in the supply. A schedule has been drawn up for the purpose and the first unit is expected to commence its production again from Friday. In phases, other units will follow suit.

The official says that according to the Board’s assessment, higher wind power availability was expected till October third week but this calculation went wrong. The wind power production declined progressively from 852 MW on October 8 (during the morning peak) on to 8 MW on October 13.

As regards the supply situation in the delta districts, the TNEB’s explanation is that when the three-phase supply for agriculture was increased from 10 hours to 16 hours in June end, there was no discharge from the Mettur dam. But, now, it has gone up 23,000 cubic feet per second (cusecs). As and when northeast monsoon sets in, the 16-hour supply system will be restored.

To tide over the current shortage, the Board will purchase electricity of 1,200 MW to 1,500 MW from different sources including power exchanges, the official adds.