Power cuts are back. For the past one week or so, many parts of Tamil Nadu, especially rural areas, are experiencing long hours of load shedding in different spells.
As in the past, Chennai has been spared. However, the duration in the rest of the State varies. Urban areas have been witnessing three to six hours and rural areas six to eight hours of power cut.
In some places, there are even reports of load shedding for over 10 hours to 15 hours a day. “We have 10-11 hours of power cut starting from 8 a.m.,” says Thangadurai of Karupampulam in Nagapattinam district. A few days ago, P.R. Pandian, a member of the State council of the Tamil Nadu Vivasayigal Sangam, was in his native village of Irulneeki in Tiruvarur. “There was no supply for 15 hours,” he says.
One of the consequences of the latest round of the crisis is felt in the public water supply system in rural areas. Already, the groundwater table is down in many places because of the failure of the northeast monsoon in 2013. The hardship for the public grows further when even the available quantity of water could not be drawn, says Kandasamy of Panakadu Andipatti in Veerapandi, Salem district. These days, Pudukottai district has been witnessing demonstrations in several places, K. Balakrishnan, leader of another farmers’ body, points out.
S. Marikannu, a farmer from Ariyakulam near Palayamkottai, says: “The problem of low-voltage, coupled with power cuts, has forced us to go for the installation of starters [for irrigation pumpsets], which cost over Rs. 3,000.”
Views differ over the supply position at night. G. Ajithan, a resident of Mohanur near Namakkal, says the supply is not cut off at night, while Murugan in the Vikravandi block of Villupuram concedes that the supply does go off for one hour in his village after 10 p.m.
Senior officials of the Tamil Nadu Generation and Distribution Corporation attribute the present phase to the loss of generation from two new units in Mettur and North Chennai. This means non-availability of 1,000 MW. At least, one unit will resume production in a few days. As regards the duration of load shedding, they say it does not go beyond two hours in urban areas and three hours in rural areas.