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Power demand crosses pre-Covid-19 levels, begin outpacing previous fiscal levels

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on October 05, 2020 Published on October 05, 2020

All-India PLF of thermal power projects stood at 48.81% in August 2020, slightly up from 47.73% in August 2019

 

India’s electricity demand has regained pre-Covid-19 levels and is also outpacing levels of last financial year. According to official data, Punjab and Rajasthan have recorded a demand increase of 9 per cent and 4 per cent, respectively. In Maharashtra and Gujarat, power demand grew by 1 per cent and 6 per cent, respectively.

Commenting on the power demand trend, Mohit Kumar, Research Analyst at IDFC Securities, said, “There has been an exceptional broad-based recovery in electricity growth. Anecdotal evidence also suggests that work is back especially in the Tier 2 and Tier 3 towns.”

 

According to data on the National Power Portal, the average all-India plant load factor (PLF) of thermal power projects stood at 48.81 per cent in August 2020, marginally up from 47.73 per cent in the August 2019. The PLF is an assessment of the total power generation capacity utilised as a percentage of total capacity installed. The PLF for nuclear power stations is even higher, at 69.88 per cent in August 2020, compared to 59.92 per cent in August 2019.

This growth in thermal power generation comes largely on the back of Central government-owned stations increasing power supply. PLF of Central government-owned stations reached 58.47 per cent in August 2020, up from 55.71 per cent in August 2019.

 

Almost all Central government coal-based power generation projects are owned through NTPC Limited. In a statement earlier this month, NTPC Group companies reported a 13.3 per cent growth in power generation during the second quarter of the current fiscal. The company’s officials had said that the increase came on the back of a gradual resumption in power demand growth following the Covid-19 lockdowns.

Generation of electricity by the NTPC Group in the first half of the current financial year — April to September 2020 — was 145.87 billion units, 0.4 per cent higher than in the same period last year.

The increase in power demand correlates with that for coal. Kumar said, “Coal production in September has grown by 23 per cent, compared to the same month last year. This is a consecutive month of growth with August print at 4 per cent. Offtake from Coal India grew by 33 per cent.”

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Published on October 05, 2020
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