Economy

India sees lowest-ever power deficit

Siddhartha P Saikia New Delhi | Updated on March 12, 2018

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The country is experiencing lowest-ever electricity deficits, with the overall shortage coming down to 3.5 per cent of demand in October this year as against 8.9 per cent last October.

The Power Ministry says that better generation and fuel supply coupled with reform steps such as financial re-structuring of State Electricity Boards (commonly known as discoms) have led to reduction in electricity deficit across India.

Improved generation

“Improved generation from hydro power plants coupled with better thermal generation is also a reason,” Pradeep Kumar Sinha, Secretary at Ministry of Power, said.

The deficit in electricity supply has been reducing since May this year, according to the data available with Central Electricity Authority. Also, there has been a drop in overall demand of electricity in October.

In October this year, demand was 80,458 million units, which is 6.35 per cent lower than 85,922 million units in October 2012. However, the trend shows that electricity deficit is reducing at faster rate than decrease in demand.

Northern region saw the deficit narrowing down by 35.4 per cent year-on-year, while Southern region deficit came down by 73.37 per cent annually. What worked for North was availability of hydro electricity, while for South power from Kudankulan nuclear plant has helped in narrowing the deficit.

The availability of coal has also improved. Moreover, the Government has allowed passing through cost of imported fuel, which offered the power plants to buy more imported coal and run stations at better plant load factor (PLF), the Secretary added.

Arup Roy Choudhury, Chairman and Managing Director of NTPC Ltd, also echoed a similar view. “Though demand is less, but availability has improved. Fuel supplies from Coal India have improved,” he said.

In October this year, hydro power stations achieved 104.08 per cent of the targeted output at 3,862.54 gigawatt hour (GWh). In the same month last year, hydro generation was recorded at 3516.07 (GWh). Last month, 500 mw of new thermal capacity and 30 mw of hydro station were added. These include unit six of Rihand thermal project and second and third unit of Nimmo Bazgo hydro project.

The Secretary said now that the discoms are taking up the financial re-structuring package (FRP), they are able to buy more electricity and reduce the demand-supply gap.

> siddhartha.s@thehindu.co.in

Published on December 03, 2013

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