Situation would have been worse but for their performance

It may look even odd but it is a fact.

Two of the State’s thermal power stations — Tuticorin and North Chennai — clocked all-time high generation of over 90 per cent in the financial year (2012-2013) that just went by, even though several parts of the State experienced an unprecedented crisis of load shedding for over 12 hours. Again, what is to be acknowledged is that but for the best performance of the two stations, things could have been much worse.

The 33-year-old Tuticorin Thermal Power Station (TTPS) produced around 8,284 million units (MU) with a plant load factor (PLF) of 90.04 per cent while the 17-year-old North Chennai Thermal Power Station (NCTPS) generated 5,059.48 MU with 91.7 per cent PLF. Both stations exceeded the generation targets determined by the Central Electricity Authority (CEA) and the Tamil Nadu Electricity Regulatory Commission (TNERC). Till now, the best performance of the TTPS was 8,193 MU during 2002-2003 and that of the NCTPS - 4,904 MU in 2006-2007. Compared to the gross energy availability of 70,540 MU last year, the two stations alone account for close to nearly 19 per cent.

In respect of the Mettur Thermal Power Station, the PLF was around 84 per cent with 6,200 MU. A senior official explains that this station too would have performed as good as the other two had there been no fire in May last year. It had to suspend production for 20 days because of the fire.

As for the recent problem of increased duration of load shedding in most parts of the State, another official says that this is likely to persist for a month more. The State has lost nearly 700 megawatt of its share from NTPC stations which are suffering from inadequate availability of coal. The situation may get eased a bit by the end of this month when two additional units at the North Chennai Thermal Power Station will feed about 600 MW to the grid. The Tamil Nadu Generation and Distribution Corporation is not suffering the problem of inadequate coal stock to the extent that the NTPC experiences because it supplements imported coal with domestic coal, the official says, adding that a substantial relief is expected by the middle of next month once wind energy picks up. The officials say that compared to the corresponding period last year, the Corporation is able to provide 40 MU more now. The present daily consumption in the State is around 230 MU with a shortfall of around 25 MU. The increase in demand is attributed to a host of factors including the addition of seven lakh more domestic consumers in the last one year.

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