The erstwhile AIADMK government had not implemented new electricity generation projects that were proposed during the previous DMK regime of 2006-2011, Electricity Minister V. Senthilbalaji said.
Mr. Senthilbalaji, who incidentally was a Minister in the Jayalalithaa Cabinet, told the media in Coimbatore on Friday that just one-third of the electricity consumed by Tamil Nadu was generated in the State, and the rest was purchased from the market at a higher rate.
When the DMK government came to power last year, Chief Minister M.K. Stalin said the projects proposed in 2006-2011 should be implemented. They would create an additional 6,220 MW of installed capacity in the State in five years. Efforts were expedited to commission 800 MW (north Chennai thermal power project stage 3) by December this year. “We had paid an additional ₹12,000 crore in interest on loans taken to implement the projects, but they were not executed (by the AIADMK government),” he said.
Between 2006 and 2011, industrial demand for power increased by 49%. In the last five years, the demand went up by just 5%. It was estimated that industrial demand would go up by 50% in five years after 2021. So, measures were being taken to strengthen the existing infrastructure, create new generation capacities and ensure uninterrupted power supply in the State, he said.
According to him, Tamil Nadu had the lowest tariff for HT consumers when compared to States like Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Gujarat. For MSMEs, too, the State had the lowest tariff. In other States, powerloom units came under the LT tariff category. Only in Tamil Nadu, there was a special tariff slab for these units and the average hike was just 70 paise a unit. When the tariff was revised in 2017, the then AIADMK government implemented a 64% hike or even 137% for some categories of consumers. Now, of the 2.37 crore domestic and hut connections in the State, one crore connections would get free power. For another 63.35 lakh connections, the hike was just ₹55 for two months.
Chief Minister MK Stalin sanctioned ₹9,048 crore funds as subsidy for the electricity board as soon as the DMK government came to power last year and that was the reason for the State continuing to enjoy uninterrupted power supply for the last 15 months, he said.