Instead, the Tamil Nadu State government has proposed to lift the 40 per cent power cut imposed on high tension (HT) industrial units and commercial establishments and 20 per cent cut on low-tension (LT) consumers and LT current transformer (LTCT) service connections. Peak-hour restrictions, now applied in the case of the HT, LT (industrial and commercial consumers) and LTCT consumers, will continue.
"We have decided to enforce power holidays for industries and after discussing with Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M Karunanidhi a Government Order in this regard will be issued," state Electricity Minister Arcot N Veerasamy told reporters. After a meeting that the Tamil Nadu Electricity Board (TNEB) Power Management had with industrialists , he said business houses were given two options -- reducing the existing power cuts for HT industries from 40 per cent to 30 per cent and to LT users from 20 per cent to 15 per cent or introduction of two power holidays in a week. "The industries have accepted the second option", he said.
"The load shedding for industries during peak hours (6 pm to 10 pm) will prevail as usual in addition to the power holidays.The Tamil Nadu Electricity Board would be able to save 800 to 1,000 MW by following the new regulations.The government was keen on ensuring a minimum of 20 hours supply to domestic consumers and 10 hours three-phased supply to agriculturists, minister said.
Commenting on the decision, Manikam Ramaswami, chairman, CII - Tamil Nadu State Council, said though the state government proposed to reduce the power cut percentage from 40 to a lower percentage, it retains the peak hour stoppage and two hours load shedding. “We would like to reiterate a more equal exemption free distribution of power to the industry so that those who have already invested in Tamil Nadu do not suffer while catering to new or exempted category industry,” he added.
The industry, especially HT including textiles, foundries, pump manufacturers, pharma and others, however, have objected to the two-day power holiday. They feel that the power holiday would be counterproductive as many units have already bought a percentage of their requirements from independent power producers. Many have also set up partial captive power plants. “All of these will become idle during days when 100 per cent power is available and will not be sufficient to run during power holidays,” Ramaswami said. He urged the government to either extend the diesel subsidy for industry using captive power or any other scheme that the government sees as feasible to use idle capacity available to bridge the shortage.
IT industry body, the National Association of Software and Services Companies (NASSCOM) said it would recommend IT companies to opt for power holiday than reduced power availability, as it would reduce the pressure of using gensets, while ensuring that the IT industry meets its targets. "There are about 2.5 lakh IT employees in the state. In order to reach the annual revenue targets, which would ultimately have a bearing on the state's revenue; it would be better for us to work continuously for five days than work with reduced availability," NASSCOM said.