Micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in Tamil Nadu will go ahead with the plan to close factories on Monday, September 25, even as state Chief Minister MK Stalin has announced some measures in response to their demands.
The MSME Association and other units under the banner of Tamil Nadu Industrial Electricity Consumers Federation have been demanding a rollback of the multi-year power tariff policy and a moratorium on the annual increase in industrial power tariffs. They also urged the state government to restore fixed charges to previous levels and cancel the increase in peak hour charges for LT (low voltage) consumers.
MSMEs said they are already facing several challenges including low capacity utilization, rising raw material prices and shortage of skilled workers. They said annual tariff hikes will lead to the collapse of micro, small and medium-sized enterprises.
The associations have also made representations to the government to cancel the tariff hike and other tariff hikes.
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State Government Measures
Chief Minister Stalin on Saturday announced three measures to ease the burden on MSMEs. LT consumers will be allowed to modify their approved loads four times a year based on seasonal demand without paying any fees. The government will also provide a 15% capital subsidy on rooftop solar power generation costs. For micro and small industries with load below 12 kW, shifting of load category from IIIB to IIIA (1) will be considered after taking advice from the Tamil Nadu Electricity Regulatory Commission.
Reacting to the CM’s statement, the association noted that these measures did not address the core issues highlighted by MSMEs and that they would go ahead with their plans to hold a strike on Monday to protest against the tariff hike.
A member of the Tamil Nadu Industrial Electricity Consumers Federation said: “The measures announced by the CM will not solve our problems at all and we will continue to protest until our demands are met.”
“Today’s Chief Minister’s statement said that all demands are being met by reducing costs. According to the MSME Association, the needs of MSMEs are not being met at all.
“The announcement to allow the LT industry to revise its approved load four times a year for free was gazetted a few days ago. This is nothing new. Also, regarding the announcement of reduced connection charges for rooftop solar, we need to wait for the details, implementation process and impact. ” said KE Raghunathan, National President, Entrepreneurs Association of India.
12 KW load conversion can only benefit micro industries and cottage industries and not small businesses. Even if it changes, it won’t have much impact. Therefore, the CM’s statement does not meet the needs of the industry,” he added.