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Power transmission losses dip during 2011-12

According to reports, power transmission losses, which had continued to rise under the DMK regime and peaked at 9.82 per cent in 2009-10, reduced during 2011-12, after the AIADMK led by J Jayalalithaa took over the reins of the government.

These are among the inferences contained in the report of the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG), which was tabled in the Tamil Nadu Assembly on May 15, on the functioning of the State’s electricity body between 2007 and 2012.

The report stated that the grim power situation in the State would have been only half as bad if only TNEB had taken steps to cut down on the amount of electricity it lost to leakages and inefficiencies during transmission. What’s more, wind energy generating units were forced to produce lesser power because they were not provided enough facilities to deliver the electricity to the people who needed it.

The CAG report on Tamil Nadu’s public sector undertakings said the power deficit of the State between 2007-08 and 2011-12 was 29,808 MUs (million units). For the same five-year period, TNEB lost a total of 26,880 MUs to transmission losses. This was 7.75 per cent of the total 3,46,831 MU of power generated, close to twice the four per cent limit to transmission losses prescribed by the Central Electrical Authority (CEA). That was a loss of 13,007 MUs over the four per cent transmission loss prescribed by the CEA.

“Had the Company (TNEB) contained the transmission loss within the CEA norms, the resultant reduction in transmission loss (13,007 MUs) would have taken care of 44 per cent of the power shortage of the State (29,808 MUs) during 2007-08 to 2011-12,” read the CAG report.

The CAG also recommended that Tamil Nadu Transmission Corporation (TANTRANSCO) take “effective steps to contain transmission losses within the norms so as to reduce power shortages”.

The CAG report also noted that wind energy generation in the State had to be curtailed below the installed capacity because of a lack of transmission infrastructure required to evacuate the generated electricity from the power generation sites at Tirunelveli and Udumalpet. For a total installed capacity of 6,943 MW, transmission capacity was only 4,997 MW. This meant that despite having the capacity to produce the power, these wind power generation units were forced to cut their output by a whopping 559.03 MU.

If the curb to effective utilisation of the State’s resources itself wasn’t bad enough, this resulted in “avoidable extra expenditure of `64.28 crore in purchase of power from costlier sources”.

The CAG report blamed the shortfall in transmission capacity on the non-completion of three substations – two 400/230 KV substations at Kanarpatti and Kayathar and a 110/11 KV substation at Karungulam. The two 400/230 KV substations had been sanctioned as far back as June 2007 under the previous DMK regime. The 110/11 KV substation was sanctioned in June 2010. These three substations are yet to be completed. The CAG recommended that transmission capacity be expanded alongside generation capacity.

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