Even as many proprietors of small and medium enterprises took to the streets in Hyderabad on Wednesday protesting against the steep power cuts, the power distribution companies (discoms) gave a rude shock to them.
The discoms issued notices to industrial consumers imposing restrictions on usage of power during peak (6.30 p.m. to 10.30 p.m.) and off-peak hours. Both HT (high tension) consumers and LT (low tension) industrial consumers will have to pay three to five times more than their electricity bill for usage of excess power.
However, the discoms have exempted domestic, irrigation and agriculture sectors apart from railway services, ports, dairies and milk chilling plants, cold storage units, universities, hospitals and defence establishments among others.
The restrictions will be in force from September 21, 2012 to March 31, 2013. The notices were issued following the orders of the Andhra Pradesh Electricity Regulatory Commission (APERC).
The decision was taken after the discoms submitted a representation to the APERC saying that load growth, outages of thermal generation plants, non-availability of hydel power and gas shortage has led to power shortage across the country.
They requested the ERC to allow them to impose restrictions.The discoms will now impose 40 per cent load relief of contracted maximum demand during off-peak hours and upto 90 per cent during peak hours.
Of this, HT and LTindustries are permitted to use power only upto 60 per cent of their requirement (total demand) during off-peak hours and only 10 per cent during peak hours.
Those who use excess power have to shell out huge penalties. The orders came as a major blow for industrial sector which is seeking an immediate respite from power crisis.
The Joint Action Committee of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises representatives took out a massive rally in Hyderabad and staged a dharna protesting against power cuts.
The industrialists have been expressing concern that unless the government takes immediate measures, nearly half of the seven lakh Small Scale Industries may get closed.
Around 45 lakh are employed in the small and medium industries. The Joint Action Committee of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises representatives also demanded that 12 per cent of the total power generated in the state be allocated to the small-scale sector.
Sources said that some industrialists have already approached the state government seeking supply of power to their requirements even as a few threatened to move out of the state if the situation continues to prevail.