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MSMEs in Tamil Nadu to continue protests against high power costs

The Micro, Small and Medium-scale Enterprises (MSMEs) in Tamil Nadu that are protesting against increase in electricity charges plan to organise the next protest on October 4.

The Tamil Nadu Industrial Electricity Consumers Association has said in a press release that at a meeting held in Chennai on September 29, the MSME associations placed four demands - withdrawal of the hike in fixed charges, exemption from peak hour charges, removal of costs for rooftop solar energy generation, charging MSMEs with less than 12 KW under tariff III A (1) instead of III B, and suspension of annual hike in electricity charges for two years.

“The government has agreed only to the demand related to tariff LT III A1 and has said that other demands cannot be met. Hence, the MSME associations will hold the next protest on October 4,” the press release said.

Meanwhile, the Tamil Nadu Electricity Regulatory Commission issued a clarification on September 29 that “the statutorily categorized and duly registered Cottage and Micro enterprises/ industries with contracted load of not exceeding 12KW engaged in manufacture or in production of lron & Steel related products/goods/ articles/ components are eligible to be classified under (tariff) lll Al . Such products/goods/ articles/ components can be end product or ancillary parts/ products/ components to the various final products of other industries.”

The usages of activities involving casting, forging, milling, various lathe, grill works etc., fall in this category, it said. Such tariff conversion from LT lll B to LT lll Al will be with prospective effect as mentioned in the supply code. lf the demand exceeds the limit of 12 Kw at any point of time, the elgibility of lll Al tariff will cease to exist, it said.

The MSMEs went on a State-wide strike on September 25 to press their demands. The government called them for a talk on September 26 and again on September 29.