Generation grinds to a halt in Talcher and Simhadri stations

With parts of the State, including Tiruchi, Madurai and Coimbatore, experiencing load shedding again for 12 to 14 hours in the last few days, power managers of the State are trying to work out a solution to provide some relief to consumers.

Attributing the present situation essentially to a sudden loss of power from Central generating stations, a senior official says the Tamil Nadu Generation and Distribution Corporation (Tangedco) has taken up with the NTPC [which is running the plants] to ensure early resumption of production in Talcher and Simhadri stations, from where the State is to get about 285 MW. The operations at these two stations have come to a halt due to coal shortage.

While the State is not getting 500 MW from Neyveli Lignite Corporation’s power stations, the planned shutdown of a private power plant in Neyveli has compounded the problem with absence of 250 MW.

Totally, the State is suffering from a loss of around 1,000 MW. Other factors include the adverse impact of the southwest monsoon on the flow to hydel reservoirs and the delay in commissioning of projects. As much as 1,000 million units of energy were lost because of the poor monsoon.

The official hopes that the Talcher and Simhadri stations will start production again in a few days. According to data from Tamil Nadu Transmission Corporation, the Tangedco’s sister entity, the quantum of load shedding (in MU) went up from just 8.735 MU on November 1 to 36 MU on November 4 to about 70 MU on Wednesday. On an average, the State requires 240 MU a day.

A report from Madurai indicates that the daily load shedding rose sharply in the past few days to about eight hours during the day. People were not spared in the night too. M.R. Rajendran, president of Kappalur Industrial Estate Manufacturers’ Association, which has around 300 small units employing 12,000 workers, said the estate was getting only four hours of power supply during the day. This was inadequate to meet the huge demand during Deepavali season.

Conscious of the plight of people in different parts of the State, the government is making efforts to see to it that sustained generation from the Vallur and Mettur thermal power projects is achieved by the end of this month. The official says that for the last one month, the Tangedco is purchasing about 300 MW of power during off-peak hours (midnight to 5 a.m.) on “a-day-ahead” basis. The authorities have firmed up 500 MW on a medium-term basis for three years. But, this will flow only from June, adds the official.

(with inputs from R. Sairam in Madurai)

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