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Power supply may not be a problem this summer

CHENNAI, MARCH 17. Power supply is looking better this summer with the Tamil Nadu Electricity Board taking up several measures to meet the demand.

Already, the maximum peak demand has touched 7,500 megawatts and the daily consumption is 159 million units (MU). In summer, the peak demand is likely to go up further. Still, power managers are hopeful that they will be able to maintain the supply.

The board has started receiving coal from China. A few months ago, it placed an order for five lakh tonnes with MMTC (formerly Minerals and Metals Trading Corporation of India), under the control of the Union Commerce Ministry. About 1.25 lakh tonnes has been received. Depending upon the availability of vessels, the entire quantum will be delivered by the month-end, sources say.

Storage comfortable

Another reason is that hydel storage is equivalent to more than 1,000 MU, up from about 400 MU last year.

The 400-mw Kadamparai hydro power station will be back on stream in a month. One unit of the North Chennai thermal station, which has been shut down after a fire a few months ago, is also likely to be recommissioned in two months.

Environmental clearance for the Pykara Ultimate Stage Hydro Electric Project, held up for several years, has been given at last. Though the 150- mw plant was ready, it could not generate electricity as there was no clearance for transmission lines. "We will coordinate with the Forest department in putting up the lines. The job will be completed shortly," the sources say, expressing the hope that power from this plant will also be available this summer.

Apart from the local sources, the State gets about 2,500 mw from the generation stations under the control of Central authorities.

The managers point out that if there is a steep increase in the demand, they can approach the Centre for 15 per cent more power. Besides, the availability-based tariff (ABT) regime has come in handy.

Implemented since the early 2003, the ABT is intended to bring down a demand-supply mismatch in every region to the minimum, ensuring grid discipline.

Coal linkage a worry

Notwithstanding all its arrangements, the TNEB is worried on one count — coal linkage. Ideally, it wants to keep a stock for 21 days.

"Though we are aware of the difficulties of Coal India, we would like to build up the stock for 15 at least days," say the sources. This issue has been taken up with the Central agency.

The board prefers the Paradeep port in Orissa (to Haldia in West Bengal) as the routing point for most of Coal India supplies.

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