Tamil Nadu’s power consumption dips, leading to huge revenue loss

Overall, the loss for Tangedco during the last FY due to lockdown is likely around ₹8,000 crore.

The all-India demand for power fell 1% in the financial year that ended in March 2021, mainly because of drastic cut in consumption during March to August in 2020, the government data shows. | Representational image

Tami Nadu’s power consumption in the last financial year has declined by 7.02 per cent and this is also the highest among all other manufacturing states in the country. In real terms, Tamil Nadu consumed a total of 1.08 lakh million units at the end of March 2020 while at the end of March 2021, the total consumption was 1.01 lakh million units.

Revenue due to lower consumption hit all discoms and for Tangedco too, the revenue from consumers came down nearly half in the first quarter of the last financial year. “We received ₹3,775.11 crore in the first quarter of the last financial year from low-tension consumers. In the 2018-19 during the same time, the revenue was more than ₹6,000 crore. Out of this, the maximum amount was ₹1,381 crore in May. In April and June, we received ₹1,208.98 crore and ₹1,184.16 crore,” said the official.

Also read: With Budget push, EPS goes whole hog on infra projects in TN

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Overall the loss of revenue for Tangedco during the last financial year due to lockdown is expected to be around ₹8,000 crore.

While the entire country was under intense lockdown from March-end of last year, it was only in June, unlock 1 started. Even then states like Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu, where the number of cases did not reach the peak, not many sections of the economy were re-opened.

“Last year the power demand from industries and commercial sections were not there for nearly one quarter as the states were under lockdown. When industries were allowed to work, many companies did not use power from the grid as the tariff was very high and instead used wind and solar power,” said K Vishnu Mohan Rao of Chennai-based Consumer Action Group.

Unlike Maharashtra or Gujarat, power consumption in Tamil Nadu is much less throughout last year. The state also had several cyclones crossing the TN coast. “For almost the whole of last year, the weather was cooler and many did not use air conditioners. Industrial consumption patterns are also shifting because of high tariffs,” said Rao.

Tamil Nadu’s power consumption was down from the end of last March and started increasing only during the festival months of October and November. “Even during the festival months, the power consumption did not reach the 2018-19 period and we expected the demand and consumption to pick up from July last year. But the lockdown was extended,” said a senior Tangedco official.

Between April and July last year, the power consumption in Tamil Nadu declined by 16 per cent compared to the previous year. The state’s total power consumption was 27,706 million units during the same time in 2018-19 but last year, it was only 23,149 MU.

Also read: Power consumption falls in industrial states, surges in migrant home states

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