In what is seen as an ominous sign, major and medium industries in Andhra Pradesh will have a "power holiday" for 12 days a month as the state power distribution companies are unable to meet the growing demand for electricity. The move was put into effect yesterday.
The industries will also have to face "evening peak restrictions" from 6.30-10.30 pm daily.
Small-scale industries like spinning mills, life-saving drug manufacturing units and seed processing plants will have a eight-day power holiday a month with evening peak restrictions from 6.30-10.30 pm, according to Member Secretary State Energy Co-ordination Cell, A Chandrasekhar Reddy.
"The reason for imposing power cuts to industries is to strictly maintain seven-hour power supply to agriculture sector as per the government policy and ensure lighting supply from 6 pm to 6 am to all villages," Mr Reddy said in a release.
The demand for power in Andhra Pradesh touched 255 million units (MU) but the power utilities could supply only 215 MU, leaving a deficit of 40 MU per day.
"Continuous dry spell, severe short supply of fuel like natural gas and coal and low water levels in major reservoirs put together have forced the power utilities to impose power restrictions under inevitable circumstances despite purchasing additional power of 20-25 MU per day," the Member-Secretary said.
He said the Chairman and Managing Director of Power Transmission Corporation of Andhra Pradesh Limited Heeralal Samariya reviewed the situation at a high-level meeting in Andhra Pradesh yesterday and decided to revise the power cuts for domestic and industries mainly to ensure seven-hour supply to the farm sector.
The Member-Secretary quoted the Transco CMD as saying that special vigilance teams have been deputed to monitor the load restrictions throughout the state.
Chandrasekhar Reddy said gas-based power plants in the state were currently receiving only about 6.43 Million Metric Standard Cubic Metres per Day of natural gas against the total requirement of 13.65 MMSCMD, leaving a deficit of around 7.22 MMSCMD.
The gas-based plants were working with a plant load factor of only 34 per cent as 1600 MW of installed capacity was lying idle due to non-availability of gas.
Also, new power generating plants with a capacity of 2000 MW could not be commissioned due to non-allocation of gas, he added.
As per the new schedule announced by the power utilities, duration of power cuts has been increased from two to three hours a day in major cities like Hyderabad, Visakhapatnam, Tirupati and Warangal. District headquarters and municipal corporations will have daily power cut for five hours, towns, municipalities and mandal headquarters six hours. Villages will get uninterrupted power supply from 6 pm to 6 am but day supply will depend on the supply to agriculture sector.