Unscheduled power outages have returned to haunt Tirunelveli, Tuticorin and Kanyakumari districts in the last few days.
The Tamil Nadu Generation and Distribution Corporation is forced to double its unannounced load-shedding in Tirunelveli to four hours since Thursday as two of the five units of Tuticorin Thermal Power Station (TTPS) are under maintenance even as power consumption is increasing steadily. In rural areas like Kadayanallur, Kadayam and Chokkampatti, people complained that the shutdown extended to six hours.
When power went off for two hours in the forenoon and for a similar duration in the sultry afternoon on Thursday, the sulking residents were clueless about the sudden power cut.
As the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Corporation’s 1,000 MWe first unit has been stopped for scheduled annual outage since June 24, the TANGEDCO, which was already facing shortage, suffered a shortfall of over 500 MW power to its pool. The situation worsened when the third and the fifth units of TTPS were shut down for maintenance a month ago to cause an additional deficit 420 MW.
After the not so impressive season this year, most of the 3,000-odd wind turbine generators in the Aralvaimozhi pass are almost idle for the past few days as wind velocity has come down drastically to add to the TANGEDCO’s miseries.
At the same time, power consumption has increased substantially as temperature hovers over 30 degree Celsius. Having left with no other option, the TANGEDCO has been compelled to clamp undeclared power cut. While four-hour-long load-shedding is imposed in the urban areas, the situation in rural areas is worse as a six-hour power cut is enforced, villagers alleged.
Condemning the sudden power cut, residents of Pottalpudur near Kadayam attempted to stage a road roko on Thursday as electricity went off even as preparations were on for Bakrid special prayers. The protesters alleged that the eight-hour power cut had dampened the festive spirit and spoilt the arrangements for special prayers.
Sources in the TANGEDCO said the situation would improve once the two units of TTPS under maintenance resumed generation in the next few days.
Tuticorin has been experiencing load shedding since Wednesday, when supply was suspended for more than five hours since 6.30 p.min most residential areas, including Muniyasamypuram, Bryant Nagar, Bucklepuram, Caldwell Colony, Amutha Nagar, Tiruchendur Road, Levinjipuram and surroundings. Kumar, a welderengaged in making steel furniture, said the unreliable power supply affected delivery of furniture to customers in time during the wedding season. In the morning of Thursday alone, power supply was suspended for seven times, he said.
K. Nehruprakash, vice-president, Tuticorin District Tiny and Small Scale Industries Association, said that reliable power supply was essential for industrial development. TANGEDCO officials said that a two-hour load shedding had occurred as per instructions of load dispatch centre. Over the last two days, power consumption went beyond the normal demand. On Wednesday, a scheduled two-hour load shedding for Tuticorin Corporation limits, three-hour load shedding in urban areas and seven-hour outage for rural limits had to be extended. However, improvement work had been taken up at Sipcot sub-station to reduce overloading and it would take a week’s time for it to get over, sources also added.
Residents of Kanyakumari district have been facing frequent power outages for the past few days and the situation became worse on Wednesday. The shutdown on Thursday dampened Bakrid celebration in many areas of the district.
Tangedco officials admitted that unscheduled load shedding was in vogue in the last few days but did not know the reasons. An official, on condition of anonymity, said that they were resorting to a four-hour load shedding (two hours each in the morning and evening) on rotation across the district due to shortfall in supply.
However, citizens complained that they were experiencing power cut for several hours, even during night.
With inputs from P.Sudhakar, J. Praveen Paul Joseph and R. Arivanantham.