In festive season, TN rural areas go powerless for 14 hrs a day
CHENNAI: Power shortage is worsening in the state with many rural areas going without power for 12 to 14 hours.
Most parts of western Tamil Nadu, including Coimbatore, Tirupur, Erode and Salem cities, face long hours of blackout. The whole region did not have power from 9pm on Wednesday until early Thursday. But for a one-hour supply in the morning, there was no supply in the western belt all through Thursday too.
It took a toll on festival shopping in urban centres. Children are among the worst sufferers as they are unable to prepare for mid-term examinations. The state has been over-dependant on wind energy for the past six months. With an installed wind energy capacity of more than 7,000MW, the windmills generated more than 4,000MW on some days and averaged between 2,000MW and 3,000MW all through the season - June to September.
With the wind season ending and alternative supply sources not yet ready, Tamil Nadu has to purchase power from outside to bridge the 4,000MW gap. But grid congestion is hampering such plans.
The TNEB should have foreseen the crisis and speeded up the ongoing projects to commission them before September to tackle the shortage, felt an analyst. Despite trying to insulate Chennai from power shortage, the utility had to impose a two-hour load shedding in the city.
Factors that have worsened the crisis are increased use of airconditioners in offices and houses, pumps by farmers and lighting by the trader community owing to festival shopping. Power managers feel rains alone will bring down the demand and consumption.
"We are hopeful that by the month-end, two thermal projects, Vallur and Mettur, will be ready for generation," said a TNEB official.
TN has to purchase power from outside to meet the 4,000MW deficit. However, grid congestion is hampering such plans.