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Lesser duration of power cuts a relief

T. Ramakrishnan
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It is just three hours in nights now

These days, electricity consumers in parts of the State other than Chennai have some respite from the acute power shortage, as the duration of load shedding has gone down considerably.

What was 12 hours to 14 hours a day three months ago is now seven to eight hours. In parts of Coimbatore, the duration is even lesser – around five hours. Significantly, the consumers are being subjected to less load shedding in the night. In October, they had to endure six-hour-long load shedding between 6 p.m. and 6 a.m., whereas it is three hours now experiencing, according to a source.

The decrease in the duration of load shedding has come at a time even as the authorities are maintaining 12-hour three-phase supply to agriculturists in the Cauvery delta. In addition, the average daily energy consumption is around 210 million units (MU), about 30 MU higher than that of October.

The improvement in the supply position has been attributed to a host of factors. Thermal power plants of the Tamil Nadu Generation and Distribution Corporation (Tangedco) are producing more. On an average, they are generating around 2,500 megawatt (MW), whereas they were producing about 1,800 MW three months ago. The quantum of electricity purchased through power exchanges has gone up. At present, it is in the range of 470 MW to 725 MW. Three months ago, the State was able to get 80 MW to 270 MW.

Since the middle of December, 150 MW is being procured from the Grid Corporation of Odisha (Gridco) during 5 a.m. to 10 a.m. and 7 p.m. to midnight. This arrangement will go on till March 31. Besides, by participating in an e-bidding, the Tangedco has been able to secure up to 430 MW capacity of inter-regional transmission for February.

The possibility is being explored to buy additional power from co-generation plant owners, using coal, during crushing and non-crushing seasons.

The authorities have tied-up with a private power producer whose plant in Saminatham of Tuticorin district is about to be commissioned. This will enable the supply of 150 MW.

New projects

The source says that an additional unit of 600 MW at the Mettur Thermal Power Station is expected to generate power in 10 days. Initially, 400 MW will be produced. One such unit at North Chennai Thermal Power Station is expected to generate around 250 MW by the end of this month.

As regards the Vallur project, jointly implemented by the Tangedco and NTPC, the first unit of 500 MW, which is generating 300 MW on an average, will run on full load by January end. Another unit of 500 MW is expected to commence production next month with about 300 MW. In the case of Vallur, the share of Tamil Nadu from each unit is about 350 MW when the unit produces to its capacity. If these plans fructify, the State will get at least 1,000 MW by the beginning of March. As of now, the State is able to meet its demand to the tune of 9,500 MW.


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