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Industry dominates consumption in Chennai

According to reports, in cities across the country, domestic consumers use the most electricity. But in Chennai, industrial use constitutes 47% of the demand, while domestic usage is 33%. Chennai has a number of industries such as Heavy Vehicles Factory and ICF, apart from a host of automobile, manufacturing and information technology companies.

The 18th Electric Power Survey, conducted by Central Electricity Authority, for various cities suggests that industry is likely to dominate consumption in Chennai even in 2021-22. The report was released recently. In contrast, nearly 33% of the total production in Bangalore is consumed by the domestic sector and heavy industries come third using 21%, after commercial and other users.

The report says that the city’s electricity demand is likely to increase to 21,434 million units (MU) at the end of 2016-17 from 14,842MU in 2010-11 at an annual growth of 6.11%. The city will have to set aside 90MW for the upcoming metro rail and other existing rail systems.

The total power demand for Tamil Nadu in 2010-11 was 80,314MU, while Chennai’s demand alone constituted 14,842MU, or 18% of the state’s demand. The city’s demand is likely to be 17% of the state’s (1,19,251MU) in 2016-17. The transmission and distribution (T&D) losses for Chennai Metropolitan Area are likely to be 13.5% of the total production at the end of 2016-17, and will reduce to 11% in 2021-22, says the study, quoting Tangedco’s submission.

Tamil Nadu has only one 600MW thermal power project in north Chennai, which is yet to be commissioned, apart from 450MW which it will get from the 1,000MW Kudankulam Nuclear Power Unit 1. “The north Chennai plant is likely to be commissioned by the end of August at the same time when Kudankulam is likely to go on stream. These two projects will compensate the wind power loss. Some Neyveli projects are to be commissioned early next year, which may add around 500MW,” said an official. Unit 2 of Kudankulam, if commissioned in March 2014, may add another 450MW.

“It is a big challenge for the Tamil Nadu government to meet the increasing demand of Chennai and other cities. As the state does not have enough thermal power projects, it is wise to buy power from private producers though the cost may be higher,” said Arvind Mahajan, energy expert, KPMG.

Tamil Nadu has decided to buy 4000MW from private producers. “The transmission problems we faced while bringing power from northern India have been sorted out by adding lines,” said an official. At least one line is expected to become operational next January.

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