The Tamil Nadu Electricity Board (TNEB) has begun implementing a host of measures to tide over the problem of the widening gap between demand and supply of power.

Since Sunday, the quantum of power cut for high-tension consumers has been increased from 20 to 30 per cent. The duration of load shedding has also gone up from two to three hours in all areas, except Chennai and its suburbs.

On Monday morning (around 7-50 a.m.), the Board resorted to load shedding of 1,440 megawatt (MW). It met the demand for about 8,990 MW.

Terming the measures temporary, Tamil Nadu Electricity Board chairman C.P. Singh told The Hindu over phone from Chennai on Monday that the Board would review the situation in a week.

The problem turned worse because of non-availability of 600 MW. This was likely to be sorted out by April 10. The Board was also not able to get power from the open market, Mr. Singh said.

Since November 2008, the Board had imposed a 40 per cent power cut on HT establishments, apart from peak-hour restrictions. In May 2009, the quantum was reduced to 30 per cent and, a month later, to 20 per cent.

As part of its measures to tackle the latest problem, the TNEB also suspended the scheme of levying reliability charge on those high tension (HT) consumers who wanted the relaxation of 20 per cent power cut and evening peak-hour (6 p.m. to 10 p.m.) restrictions. Originally, the scheme was to be in force till May 31. In January, the Tamil Nadu Electricity Board was allowed to supply power at a total energy cost not exceeding Rs.7 per unit.

The Board recently informed consumers that it would not be able to continue supply of the additional power in April and May as power was not available because of a steep hike in prices, increase in demand and corridor constraints.

“Resumption of the additional power supply will depend on availability in the market,” the TNEB chairman said.

In addition to scheduled load shedding, people in cities such as Coimbatore and Tiruchi have been complaining of undeclared load shedding. The duration of undeclared load shedding varies from 30 minutes to one hour.

In rural areas, the duration of the three-phase supply has been decreased from 10 to nine hours. Earlier, supply was for six hours during day and four hours during night. Hereafter, supply during night will be for three hours. This is in addition to the three hours load shedding every day, another official of the Board clarified.