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Tuesday, June 02, 2020

Peak power demand down 26% in May despite easing of curbs

May 1 saw a peak power demand of 131.40 GW being met, while 134.70 GW was the peak power supplied on May 2. By comparison, the peak power demand was 182.53 GW in May last year. 

By: ENS Economic Bureau | New Delhi | Published: May 4, 2020 1:25:21 am
coronavirus, coronavirus news, covid 19 tracker, electricity, power demand, power demand corona lockdown, indian express Peak power demand — the highest energy supply in a day across the country — dropped over 26 per cent in May so far, shows Power Ministry data. (File Photo)

India continues to face lower demand for power despite a partial easing up of the nationwide lockdown during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Peak power demand — the highest energy supply in a day across the country — dropped over 26 per cent in May so far, shows Power Ministry data.

May 1 saw a peak power demand of 131.40 GW being met, while 134.70 GW was the peak power supplied on May 2. By comparison, the peak power demand was 182.53 GW in May last year.

In April, too, the peak power demand dipped about one-fourth from the same month last year. The power demand during April has ranged between 116.89 GW (April 8) to 132.77 GW (April 30), and peak power demand crossed the 130 GW mark on April 24 (130.02GW), April 29 (131.13GW) and April 30 (132.77GW), the data showed.

This means the overall peak power demand met in April stood at 132.77 GW, down from 176.81 GW in April 2019.

The relatively cool weather has played spoilsport in April as well as May, keeping power demand low during this time, an industry expert told PTI.

The low economic activity in the country during the lockdown, especially in the manufacturing sectors, has also played a role in the lower demand. Several companies in segments of the country’s manufacturing industry are yet to restart operations despite easing of the restrictions in the last two months due to issues with liquidity and labour.

Industry bodies and analysts have expressed concern about the low power demand during the lockdown and its potential impact on the already financially stressed power sector.

The country’s electricity distribution companies (discoms) owe over Rs 92,800 crore to electricity generators (gencos) as of February 2020, shows data from the Power Ministry’s PRAAPTI portal.

India’s daily power demand had declined by 25-28 per cent since the beginning of the nationwide lockdown, driven primarily by factory and office closures in the commercial and industrial sectors that contribute over 52 per cent of total demand, said the Confederation of Indian Industry in a report last month.

At the time that the lockdown had been extended to May 3, CII estimated discoms to suffer a net revenue loss of Rs 25,000 crore to Rs 30,000 crore.

Experts said with mercury expected to soar in the coming days and resumption of some economic activities from Monday, power demand may see an uptick, reported PTI. However, they are of the view that touching last year’s levels is still a long time away.

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