Making the announcements, Chief Minister Jayalalithaa, in a statement issued on Friday, referred to the substantial improvement in supply position in the last few weeks owing to the availability of more wind power.

Power consumers in Tamil Nadu will have some relief from the acute shortage of electricity. Beginning Saturday, domestic consumers in Chennai will have to bear only one-hour load shedding and those in remaining parts of the State, three hours.

The scheme of power holiday for low-tension and high tension industrial establishments has been withdrawn completely. As part of it the State had been divided into six regions and industrial units in each region were required not to draw power on an assigned day apart from Sundays.

Making the announcements, Chief Minister Jayalalithaa, in a statement issued on Friday, referred to the substantial improvement in supply position in the last few weeks owing to the availability of more wind power.

She expressed the hope that several thermal power projects and the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project would be commissioned shortly. “The present restriction and control measures will be gradually relaxed. Appropriate steps will be taken after holding a review of the situation next month.”

Ms. Jayalalithaa issued the statement after chairing a high-level meeting attended by senior officials.

Four units of the 840 MW Mettur Thermal Power Station, which was badly affected by a fire early in May, have resumed generation to their capacity.

In recent weeks, the State has been getting, on an average, 2,000 MW through windmills.

In Februrary, the Tamil Nadu Generation and Distribution Corporation (TANGEDCO) increased the duration of load shedding by an hour. This was done to manage the surging demand. The authorities' calculation was that from May, the situation would improve in view of higher wind energy generation, said a senior TANGEDCO official. On commissioning of one unit of 1,000 MW at Kundankulam, the State would get its share of about 462 MW.

Power managers explain that the latest decision has been taken, taking into account the wind energy generation. Wind has never failed the State over the years. The authorities also plan to purchase 700 MW from other states outside the southern region on a temporary basis.

In Chennai, the intense heat and increased use of air-conditioners has triggered a surge in demand for power. According to TANGEDCO officials, it has touched a record high of 3,000 MW as against the State's total demand of about 9,500 MW.

During summer last year, the city's average demand was around 2,000 MW and this year it was expected to be around 2,500 MW. But, due to the heat, more people have started running air conditioners, increasing the load, say officials.

An indication of the growing gap between supply and demand was a demonstration held by over 500 residents of Adyar in front of the TANGEDCO office on Thursday night. They complained that they did not have supply for over two hours in the night. They dispersed following the intervention of the police and assurance from TANGEDCO officials.