The operations of major and minor industries in Andhra Pradesh came to a grinding halt on Friday due to a sudden power holiday declared by the State government. For the first time after the bifurcation of the State in 2014, the power holiday has come into effect from Friday across the State for all categories of industries. 

As per the notification, those industries which are operating round the clock will now have to use only 50 per cent of their power requirement. All industries should also declare one more holiday for operations in addition to a weekly holiday. In effect, this would limit the working days for industries to five days a week. The load reliefs in the industrial sector intended to supply power to farmers are to prevent any damage to the standing crops and also to ensure a reasonable power supply to the domestic consumers. 

Industry shocked

This move left the industry in a state of shock. According to them, lack of prior information on power cut has caused disruptions.. A packaging factory in Chittoor opened to a power holiday this morning and could not deliver it’s daily quantity of material for milk packaging to its client, affecting milk distribution.

“The power holiday is sudden and without prior notice and did not give any time to the industry to prepare in advance and manage production ,’‘ P Vydehi, Secretray , Federation of Andhra Pradesh Chambers of Commernce and Industry (Fappci) told BusinessLine. There was `consternation’ among our members as the decision came as a bolt from the blue at a time when the industry had begun to recover from the adverse impact of the pandemic, she said.

Apart from major industries incluidng Ferro Alloys, Cement and Pharma, the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) will also be hit `badly’ she said. According to sources, efforts by Fapcci and other `leading’ industrialists to reach over to the senior officials to express their reservations were not successful as the officials “did not even respond’‘.

To impact 253 industries

As per government data, the power holiday would adversely impact 253 industries that are working round the clock and 1,696 non-continuous industries under the AP Southern Power Distribution Company Limited (APSPDCL) purview. The government, private companies and shopping malls have been advised to use only 50 per cent of air-conditioners and not to use power for publicity hoardings and signboards between 6 pm and 6 am. “A blanker power cut on all facilities including those of pharma can affect our preparedness to tackle Covid in the event of another wave. We hope the government would understand this,’‘ said the director of a pharma company which operates in Pharma City, Visakhapatnam.

Andhra Pradesh has been facing a deficit of nearly 40-50 million units (MU) per day. At present, the State has only 2,000 MW against a demand of 14,000 MW. The demand for power in the State had gone up in recent weeks from an average of 190 MU per day to over 200 MU.

The government was not prepared adequately to face the power shortage even as neighbouring States like Telagnana were purchasing power from other States well in advance to avoid a crisis, said a senior official adding that lack of financial resources was also a reason for not purchasing power from outside.

Fapcci and other industry bodies are planning to submit a representation to the government on Saturday seeking a review of the decision.