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Demand stays low, but city faces power outage
Despite the power demand remaining lower than pre-COVID times, consumers in several parts of the city complain of regular power outages during the night, causing severe hardships to the public amid soaring temperature.
The Cyclone Amphan induced heatwave has already left Chennai and its neighbourhoods reeling under sizzling hot weather but the night time power cuts and voltage fluctuation has made it even worse. Unlike the previous year, the power demand in the city and the State has remained much less due to the lockdown imposed on March 25. Following the lockdown, Chennai’s peak demand has crossed 3,000 MW only a couple of days ago. Last year in June, the city recorded an alltime high demand of 3738 MW.
The power cut and voltage fluctuation have been a major problem in areas like Tambaram, Selaiyur, Old Perungalathur, Madipakkam, Velacherry, Chrompet, Lakshmipuram, Vinayagapuram, Kolathur, Madhavaram, Pattabiram and Kilkattalai. N Singaravelan, a resident of Sivaprakasham Nagar at Madipakkam took to social media to raise the issue with Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami and Electricity Minister P Thangamani: “Power cut for three hours now and every day of the past week at Sivaprakasham Nagar, Madipakkam. I am in home quarantine with a 4-month-old baby with such power cuts cannot be expressed more in words.”
Another resident Sangeetha Rosemarie Rajeesh of Ramalinga Nagar Extn, Madipakkam, complained that her locality has been facing voltage fluctuations every day and long hours without power. “Several complaints made to the Tangedco but there is no permanent solution for it,” she wrote. K Pandian, a resident of Lakshmipuram at Kolathur, said that for the past three days, the power goes off between 11 pm and 12 am on a daily basis. “There is no response for the calls made to the local Tangedco office. The power cuts at night cause inconveniences. Particularly, kids and older people are finding it very difficult considering the hot weather,” he said.
A senior Tangedco official said that the power cut during the night has nothing to do with the demand and supply gap but poor distribution infrastructure. “Even though the industrial power demand has not gone up much, the city’s demand has crossed 3,000 MW, mainly due to the air conditioning load. With everyone staying home, the city’s power demand peaks at 11 pm when people switch on their ACs. Localities, where the distribution infrastructure is poor, will witness power outage,” the official said. The increase in the power demand would lead to tripping of distribution transformers and at times, the feeder line would get tripped, the official noted.