India’s power consumption grew 3.35% in the first half of October to 57.22 billion units, showing recovery amid coal shortage at electricity power plants, says the power ministry data. The data clearly shows that there is recovery in power consumption as well as demand in the country.
Amid the coal shortage at power plants in the country, the peak power shortage moderated to 986 MW on October 15 in sharp contrast to 11,626 MW on October 7. It is to be noted that the 11,626 MW peak power shortage on October 7 was the highest during the first half of this month.
Besides, the latest coal stock report for 135 coal-based power plants monitored by Central Electricity Authority for October 13, showed that the number of non-pithead power plants having less than four days of coal stock (supercritical coal stock) reduced to 64 from 69 on October 8 when the daily power consumption touched its peak of 3,900 million units in first half of this month. Earlier this week, the power ministry had stated that the capacity of units under outage due to low coal stocks reduced from 11 GW on October 12 to 15 GW on October 14.
Experts are of the view that there would be good recovery in power demand as well as consumption due to the government’s efforts to ramp up coal supplies at plants and improvement in economic activities due to lifting of lockdown restrictions by states. Many states had imposed lockdown restrictions after the second wave of the pandemic hit the nation in April this year. Curbs were gradually lifted as the number of COVID cases fell.
However, power consumption in September this year witnessed subdued recovery with meager growth of 1.7% at 114.35 BU mainly due to delayed monsoon heavy rains. In September last year, power consumption was 112.43 BU, higher than 107.51 BU in the same month of 2019. Experts say the recovery in power demand and consumption in September 2021 remained subdued mainly because of heavy rains in the month.
The second wave of COVID-19 hit the country in the middle of April this year and affected the recovery in commercial and industrial power demand as states started imposing restrictions in the latter part of the month. The month recorded year-on-year growth of nearly 38.5% in power consumption.
Power consumption witnessed 6.6% year-on-year growth in May this year at 108.80 BU despite a low base of 102.08 BU in the same month of 2020. As per the latest data, in June it grew nearly 9% to 114.48 BU, compared to 105.08 BU in the same month last year.