As lockdown bites, electricity usage falls 9.2% in March

Reuters CHENNAI | Updated on April 01, 2020 Published on April 01, 2020

India's electricity use fell 9.2 per cent in March, provisional government data showed on Wednesday, as consumption dropped for the first time in three months due to a nationwide lockdown to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

Consumers used 100.2 billion kilowatt-hours (kWh) in March, compared with 110.33 billion units a year earlier, an analysis of load despatch data by state-run Power System Operation Corp Ltd (POSOCO) showed.

That was India's fastest pace of decline in consumption since October when power use fell at its steepest in over 12 years due to a broad economic slowdown.

As the scare of the spread of the coronavirus mounted, Prime Minister Narendra Modi first imposed a partial lockdown on March 22, following which states progressively increased restrictions culminating in a national three-week shutdown starting March 25.

Power supplied was over 2% lower in the first three weeks of the month ending March 21. In the ten days that followed, electricity use fell by about a fifth, an analysis of POSOCO data showed. Consumption of electricity in the last ten days of March in major industrial states such as Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu fell over a fifth, while power use in the western state of Gujarat fell over 30% compared with the average consumption in the first three weeks, the data showed.

Electricity demand from industries accounts for over two-fifths of India's annual electricity consumption, according to government data, with residences accounting for nearly a quarter and commercial establishments for less than a tenth. The northern states of Punjab and Haryana, both of which are major agricultural states, saw the highest rates of declines during March, falling over 20 per cent each.

Published on April 01, 2020

A letter from the Editor

Dear Readers,

The coronavirus crisis has changed the world completely in the last few months. All of us have been locked into our homes, economic activity has come to a near standstill. Everyone has been impacted.

Including your favourite business and financial newspaper. Our printing and distribution chains have been severely disrupted across the country, leaving readers without access to newspapers. Newspaper delivery agents have also been unable to service their customers because of multiple restrictions.

In these difficult times, we, at BusinessLine have been working continuously every day so that you are informed about all the developments – whether on the pandemic, on policy responses, or the impact on the world of business and finance. Our team has been working round the clock to keep track of developments so that you – the reader – gets accurate information and actionable insights so that you can protect your jobs, businesses, finances and investments.

We are trying our best to ensure the newspaper reaches your hands every day. We have also ensured that even if your paper is not delivered, you can access BusinessLine in the e-paper format – just as it appears in print. Our website and apps too, are updated every minute, so that you can access the information you want anywhere, anytime.

But all this comes at a heavy cost. As you are aware, the lockdowns have wiped out almost all our entire revenue stream. Sustaining our quality journalism has become extremely challenging. That we have managed so far is thanks to your support. I thank all our subscribers – print and digital – for your support.

I appeal to all or readers to help us navigate these challenging times and help sustain one of the truly independent and credible voices in the world of Indian journalism. Doing so is easy. You can help us enormously simply by subscribing to our digital or e-paper editions. We offer several affordable subscription plans for our website, which includes Portfolio, our investment advisory section that offers rich investment advice from our highly qualified, in-house Research Bureau, the only such team in the Indian newspaper industry.

A little help from you can make a huge difference to the cause of quality journalism!

Support Quality Journalism
This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor
You have read 1 out of 3 free articles for this week. For full access, please subscribe and get unlimited access to all sections.