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Power demand in India dips by a quarter in ten days

  • 1 year, 8 months ago (2020-03-30)
  • David Flin
Asia 687 Distribution 75

Daily power demand in India has fallen by 24 per cent over the ten days to 26 March, due to reduced industrial and commercial activities, in the wake of the spread of Covid-19. India’s electricity requirement on March 26 was 2652 million units, down from 3507 million units on 16 March.

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In addition, distribution companies are finding it harder to read meters and collect payment from consumers. To make matters worse for the distribution companies, the decrease in consumption is largely from lower usage by high paying customers such as railways, industrial, and commercial users. Although the household sector consumes more than a third of electricity supplies, it is cross-subsidised by industrial and commercial users of electricity. Tariffs on domestic consumers is, on average, 40 per cent lower than for industrial users of power.

The decline in power consumption is being reflected in low utilisation levels, measured by plant load factor (PLF) at thermal power plants. PLF of coal-fired plants is sharply down, reaching an all-time low of 48.9 per cent.