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Power demand growing despite last month’s slump

Despite the ongoing economic slowdown, the power ministry claims that India's electricity demand has been growing though it fell last month. It said rising renewable and hydropower generation led to lower use of thermal plants. CEA data showed that power demand in October 2019 fell the most in industrial states.

ET Bureau|
Nov 21, 2019, 08.01 AM IST
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New Delhi: India’s electricity demand has been growing although it fell last month because of excessive rain, the power ministry said, rubbishing reports that the decline indicated an economic slowdown.

“Making a judgment on one month’s data while ignoring the high growth in the other months is nonsensical,” the ministry said in a statement. It said rising renewable and hydropower generation led to lower use of thermal plants.

The Central Electricity Authority’s reports had earlier shown that October’s energy requirement of 98 billion units was 13% lower than the same month last year. In the previous two months, it was marginally lower than the corresponding period last year.

“The monthly growth in electrical energy availability in the country has been in the range of 6.5% to 8.5% from April to July, 2019. The growth during the first quarter of the current year was around 7.5%, and in July it was 6.7%. Only in the month of October there was a decline because the rainfall was 35% above normal in October, 2019 resulting in reduction in demand in agriculture sector and the reduction in cooling requirement in the domestic and commercial sectors,” the ministry said.

CEA data showed that power demand in October 2019 fell the most in industrial states. Demand for electricity in Madhya Pradesh decreased by 26%, in Maharashtra by 22% and in Karnataka by 25%. Electricity demand in Gujarat was down by 19%, Andhra Pradesh by 16%, Telangana by 16%, the data showed.

The power ministry statement said that past monsoon, generation from hydro and wind has started reducing. “Thus, from November 2019 till March 2020 the electricity demand will largely be met from thermal power stations.

Thus the PLF of thermal power station for the year 2019-20 would improve to around 60% as per the target,” it said The statement said due to prolonged rains there has been 16% growth in generation from Hydro and around 22% growth in hydro power imported from Bhutan. There has been 27% growth in generation from nuclear power plants and 24% growth in generation from solar.

Thus, the share of green power i.e. generation from non-fossil fuel has been around 27.3%, a substantial increase of 19.6% from a year ago.

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