Duration of cut for domestic consumers doubled from Monday

The Tamil Nadu Generation and Distribution Corporation (TANGEDCO) on Saturday announced power holiday for industrial units across the State with effect from Thursday (March 1).

In an official release, the TANGEDCO divided the State into six regions – Erode, Chennai South and Tirupattur, Chennai North and Madurai, Coimbatore, Tirunelveli; Tirupur and The Nilgiris, and Tiruchi; Villupuram and Vellore. On the day mentioned for each region, the industrial units located in the region concerned will not be able to draw the supply.

According to TANGEDCO Chairman and Managing Director Rajeev Ranjan, in the absence of exclusive feeders for the industry, it is up to the consumers not to draw power. It is meant to be a voluntary action on the part of the industry.

The Corporation's action is in response to the demand made by some industry bodies for the introduction of the power holiday system, another official points out.

As regards the domestic category, consumers in the rest of the State will have to bear with four hours of load shedding every day. This will come into force from Monday. Regional chief engineers have been given the freedom to decide whether the duration of load shedding in one spell of four hours or in two spells of two hours each, says the official.

A release issued by the TANGEDCO states that effective Monday (February 27), the quantum of power cut to all industrial and commercial consumers will be 40 per cent. Evening peak hour restrictions (6 p.m. to 10 p.m.) will be applied to commercial consumers.

Pointing out that most of the measures were in force in 2008, the Corporation states that the present restrictions and control (R&C) measures are not sufficient to cover the gap of 3,000 megawatt (MW)-4,000 MW. It is for this reason that the TANGEDCO was forced to resort to unscheduled load shedding. This is essential to ensure the security of the State grid, which is, in turn, a constituent of the southern region's grid.

According to the release, the R&C measures will be implemented based on local needs. Wherever needed, they will be modified. Also load shedding measures will be revised depending upon the demand and supply gap. The TANGEDCO plans to ensure uninterrupted power supply to the extent possible to address the problems faced by students, who will be facing examinations.

The regional chief engineers or the respective officers in-charge of the areas will communicate feeder-wise R&C measures/load shedding details. While the electricity demand ranges from 11,500 MW to 12,500 MW, the total availability from internal generation, share from Central Generating Station and other sources is 8,500 MW.

Moreover, there has been no major capacity addition over the past several years and some of the ongoing projects which were expected to be operational this year are yet to be completed. The projects include Mettur Thermal Power Project Stage 3 (600 MW), North Chennai Thermal Power Project Stage 2 (two units of 600 MW each), NTPC Joint Venture Project at Vallur (three units of 500 MW each), Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project (two units of 1,000 MW each) and NLC TS 2 Expansion (two units of 250 MW each).

The corporation estimates that during day, the increase in the duration of load shedding by one hour in Chennai will mean a reduction in power demand for 200 MW; additional two hours in other parts of the State - 800 MW and the system of power holiday, another 800 MW. In the evening peak hours, the extension of restriction to commercial consumers will provide relief of 400 MW more.

At present, the relief from the HT industrial consumers is around 800 MW.

The release adds that the deficit situation is likely to last a few months. With wind generation picking up and power projects becoming functional one after the other in June, it will be possible to relax some of the measures by then.