PM intervention sought in postponing CERC proposal

Chennai: Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa today sought Prime Minister Manmohan Singh`s intervention in postponing a proposal by Central Electricity Regulatory Commission on restricting grid frequency bandwidth.

In a letter to Singh, she said such a "drastic" and "unwarranted move" may adversely affect the state, especially straining debt-ridden Tamil Nadu Generation and Distribution Corporation (TANGEDCO, erstwhile TNEB).

The operating grid frequency bandwidth of 49.5 Hz to 50.2 Hz was proposed to be further restricted to 49.7 Hz to 50.2 Hz in the name of ensuring grid stability, she said in a letter to the Prime Minister.

"The Unscheduled Interchange charges at the minimum frequency of operation proposed are also raised from Rs.8.73 per unit to Rs 9 per unit," Jayalaithaa said.

The cost of power drawn at frequency below the set level would further increase the cost of power to the utility and TANGEDCO would be affected, she said.

TANGEDCO, which was already in a "debt trap", would be subjected to severe financial stress on account of this move to an extent of over Rs 350 crore per year, Jayalalithaa said.

"As the grid stability has not been adversely affected in the recent past with the existing frequency bandwidth and considering the prevailing power shortage situation, such a drastic move is totally unwarranted at this stage," she said.

The move may also result in increasing the duration of enforced load shedding in the state, causing "irreparable loss" to consumers, particularly in rural areas, even adversely affecting agricultural production and economic growth of the state, Jayalalithaa said.

The issue had been taken up by Electricity Minister R Viswanathan with his Union counterpart Sushil Kumar Shinde in January, "but it was of no avail."

Considering the damage that would be caused to the power utilities, TANGEDCO has been forced to take the issue to the Madras High Court to obtain an interim relief, she said.

She requested Singh to advise authorities to postpone the proposal for further tightening of frequency bandwidth to a future period when the demand-supply situation and inter-state connectivity in the country improves.

The country as a whole was facing power shortage and Centre was finding it "difficult to achieve even 50 percent of the planned capacity addition target," Jayalalithaa said.