The illegal restrictions continue despite a government order dated February 25 this year promising a round-the-clock power supply for agriculture. In the absence of separate power lines for agriculture, people in the rural areas are getting a three-phase supply on a rotational basis.
Activist and retired Tangedco engineer S Neelakanta Pillai has got RTI replies confirming restrictions on three-phase power supplies in the rural areas from over a dozen distribution circles out of the total 42 circles in the Tangedco. At Virudhunagar distribution circle, the three-phase power supply in Sattur Substation will be provided only from 9.50 am to 3.10 pm and 10.45 pm to 6.50 am and the rest of the time only a two-phase power supply would be available.
“All categories of consumers are fed through the nearby 11KV or 22KV networks via distribution transformers. In rural areas, the power supply for agriculture consumers is being fed through the rural feeders. Restriction of a three-phase power supply is being imposed for rural feeders through oral instructions from the State load despatch centres. Within division or circle level they formed a grouping schedule to implement the restriction on rotational basis according to the intensity of the agricultural consumers,” Neelakanta Pillai said in his complaint to the Tamil Nadu Electricity Regulatory Commission against the Tangedco and Tantransco.
He said small rural industries are severely affected by the restrictions.
Vasudevan, who owns floor, rice and oil mill at Madagaram in Tiruvarur district said his mills could be operated only with three-phase power. “But three-phase supply will be available either in the morning or afternoon on a rotational basis. We will work during that time. Most of the days, we will have a three-phase supply during the night,” he said.
A senior Tangedco official said the government order to supply 24 hours power for agriculture was issued during elections without considering the adequacy of the distribution network.
“We are preparing a massive plan under a Central scheme for segregating agriculture feeders from the 3000 rural feeders. We are identifying the rural feeders with over 500 agriculture connections and preparation of estimation for the separate agriculture feeders are underway. Once it is done, we will be able to provide 24X7 three-phase supply in the rural feeders,” the official said, adding lack of distribution infrastructure is the reason for such restrictions.