Powercuts imposed on heavy users in Tamil Nadu—factories, shops and offices—will be lifted from 1 June, chief minister J. Jayalalithaa said on 27-05-2014. "Peak-hour restrictions (usually between 6-10 pm) on heavy users of power will also be removed," she said in a note. In the last three years, Tamil Nadu has been facing severe power shortages, with outages lasting 8-10 hours. In rural areas, power cuts can last up to 14 hours. Chennai is the exception, with two-hour-long cuts.
The state has decided to lift the cuts as it expects more wind power to become available from next month—power from wind turbines is only available from May to October.
Tamil Nadu gets 44% of its total requirements from renewable energy, with close to 90% of it coming from wind. This is much higher than the national average for renewable energy consumption at 12%. The state leads in wind power generation in the country, with over 7,000 megawatts (MW) being generated every month.
"The last five days there have been no power cuts in the state," Jayalalithaa said. This was thanks to wind energy becoming available.
Meanwhile, 500MW was being bought on a medium-term basis from power producers and agreements for purchasing 3,300MW on a long-term basis will kick in from August, according to the statement.
Capacity additions to the tune of 2,500MW have been made in the last three years. "Steps have been taken so that all restrictions and control measures imposed by the previous Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) government in November 2008 will be wholly withdrawn," Jayalalithaa said.
"I am proud I have achieved my earlier promise that in three years there will be no power in cuts Tamil Nadu," she said. "In May 2011, when I took charge as chief minister, total power consumption in the state was 12,000MW, while available power was only 8,000MW. There was a large power deficit of 4,000MW. Moreover, the Tamil Nadu Electricity Board was in financial mess with a huge debt."
Acute power crisis for Tamil Nadu started around 2005, primarily due to a lack of foresight on the part of the electricity board, according to Amol Kotwal, associate director, energy and power system practices, Frost and Sullivan, a consulting firm.
In the seven years from 2005 to 2012, the board's added only 330MW of power generation capacity, whereas demand rose more than 10 times to about 3,800MW. Additionally, its financial situation worsened, as the board was unable to raise rates under pressure from the state government.