Power authorities in the State are struggling to maintain the present level of supply, even as complaints of frequent disruption in supply are on the rise.
Except in Chennai, the duration of load shedding for domestic supply in the rest of the State had been two hours. Consumers, be they in Tuticorin or Coimbatore, say that of late, load shedding for three or four hours is the norm besides unscheduled interruption. In some rural places, it is even five hours.
On Monday morning, traders of Thiruninravur, on the outskirts of Chennai, blocked the Chennai-Tiruvallur High Road for about half-an-hour, protesting the increased duration of load shedding.
In respect of farmers who are supposed to be given nine hours of three-phase supply, the duration of supply has been much less.
The main demand of industrial and consumer associations in Coimbatore is to plan and follow a schedule of load shedding and bring Chennai too under the system of load shedding.
An official of the Tamil Nadu Generation and Distribution Corporation (TANGEDCO) in Coimbatore concedes that the Corporation is unable to hold on to any schedule of load shedding.
Admitting that the duration of load shedding has gone up in the last few days, a senior official of the Corporation says suddenly, there was a loss of about 730 megawatt of power due to unforeseen breakdown in generation of some units at Neyveli, Talcher, Pillaiperumal Nallur and Ramagundam.
The official says most of the units are expected to resume generation shortly and by the morning of Tuesday, 600 MW will be available.
At present, the Corporation has been purchasing around 2,000 MW of power on a temporary basis every day, of which 800 MW from sources in the State and 1,200 MW from other States. Of the quantum of power supplied by other States, Gujarat accounts for 425 MW and Chattisgarh – 180 MW.
Apart from Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh is buying heavily from different sources in the country, pushing the cost of power up and causing greater pressure on the Talcher-Kolar line, which transfers power to the southern States.
Till the day of polling, the authorities in Tamil Nadu purchased power even at Rs.15 or Rs.16 per unit. Given the financial health of the Corporation, they can no longer afford purchasing at that rate.
Another official says that though power in the northern region is available at Rs.3.7 per unit, Tamil Nadu is not in a position to get it even at Rs.9 per unit. Unless the southern region is fully interconnected with other three regions in the country, the problem will persist.
Articulating the woes of farmers, Arupathy Kalyanam, general secretary, Federation of Farmers Associations - Cauvery Delta Districts, says that the new regime should attach importance to the farm sector and ensure 20 hours of power supply to farmers in the delta areas.