With no immediate respite in sight for the people of Chennai from the relentless heatwave conditions, especially with the temperature hovering above 40 degree Celsius for the past 10 days, the city’s peak power demand touched an all-time high of 3,738 MW on Tuesday night. This was attributed to an increased use of air conditioners at households to combat the severe weather.
A senior Tangedco official said that the steep rise in power demand was mainly due to domestic use of ACs. “The city power demand is mainly driven by domestic consumers than the industries. Due to the heatwave, this has shot up. Usually, power demand spikes at 10 pm and continues to remain high till 12-1 am,” the official said.
The power load of an air conditioner is equal to the use of 25-30 tube lights, the official said, adding that not only has the number of homes having ACs gone up but also that more than one AC is installed in the homes.
The rise in power demand has also resulted in power cuts during the night in various parts of the city. “When everyone switches on the ACs, the power load shoots up tripping the breakers,” the official said, acknowledging the increase in the complaints of power cuts, especially during the night time. “The power cuts, however, are specific to certain streets and not widespread,” he added.
S Balachandran, deputy director general of Meteorology, Chennai attributed the blistering heat in the city to the cyclone Vayu that had changed the wind pattern. “Continuously, there is no moisture in the air and no cloud formation as well. It is totally humid. That’s why the temperature is 3-4 degree Celsius above normal,” he said.