Micro, Small and Medium-scale Enterprises (MSMEs) in Tamil Nadu will go ahead with their plan to down shutters on Monday, September 25, even as the State Chief Minister M K Stalin has announced some measures in response to their demands.

MSME Associations and other units, under the banner of The Tamil Nadu Industrial Electricity Consumers’ Federation, have been demanding cancellation of the multi-year tariff policy and suspension of plans to effect a yearly hike in the industrial electricity tariff. They have also urged the state government to reverse fixed charges to previous levels, and scrap the increase in peak hour charges for LT (low tension) consumers.

MSMEs said they were already reeling under several challenges, such as poor capacity utilisation, a rise in raw material prices, and shortage of skilled workers. A tariff hike every year will lead to the closure of MSMEs, they said.

The associations also made representations to the Government to roll back the tariff hike and other tariff increases.

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State government measures

Chief Minister Stalin on Saturday announced three measures to reduce the burden for MSMEs. LT consumers will be allowed to modify their sanctioned load based on seasonal demand four times a year without any charges. The government will also extend a 15 per cent capital subsidy in connection with charges for rooftop solar power generation. For micro and small industries of less than 12 kW load, the transfer of load category from IIIB to IIIA (1) will be considered after obtaining the opinion of the Tamil Nadu State Electricity Regulatory Commission.

Responding to the CM’s announcement, associations pointed out that the measures didn’t address the core issues highlighted by the MSMEs, and they would go ahead with their plan to observe a day’s strike in protest against the tariff hike on Monday.

“The measures announced by the CM in no way address our issues, and we will continue our protest till our demands are met,” said a member of The Tamil Nadu Industrial Electricity Consumers’ Federation.

“The CM’s statement today talks about the past as if it is the present, and that all demands are met by reducing the cost. In no way have the MSMEs’ demands been addressed, according to an MSME Association.

“The announcement on allowing LT industries to modify their sanctioned load four times a year at no cost, has been issued vide a gazette a few days back. It is nothing new. Also, on the rooftop solar announcement for a reduction in connection charges, we need to wait for details and the implementation process and impact,” said K. E. Raghunathan, National President, Association of Indian Entrepreneurs.

The 12 kW load conversion can only benefit micro and cottage industries and not small-scale enterprises. It won’t have much impact even if it changes. So, the CM’s announcement doesn’t address what the industry wanted,” he added.