Peak power deficit in February narrows to 3.3% from 4% in Jan

Written by fe Bureau | Mumbai | Updated: Mar 28 2014, 20:53pm hrs
Peak power deficit in the Indian energy sector has remained in the 3-4% range since June 2013, with deficit for the month of February 2013 narrowing to 3.3% from 4% in January, according to monthly data issued by the Central Electricity Authority (CEA).

Peak demand for February was 132,507 MW, a fall of 1.7% compared with revised January peak demand numbers. Supply rates remained flat m-o-m.

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Jammu & Kashmir continues to have the worst peak deficit of 20.1%, followed by Uttar Pradesh at 14.1%. The southern region's demand continued to outpace supply with deficit at 5.2%, an improvement over January's number of 8%.

The all India plant load factor (PLF) a measure of average capacity utilisation remained constant at 68%, a marginal fall from the 69% reported in January.

Power plants operating on domestic coal posted a m-o-m decline in February PLF with Sterlites Jharsuguda plant in Odisha and Lancos Amarkantak unit in Madhya Pradesh continuing to report low PLFs of 35% and 48%, respectively, according to JP Morgan. The newly commissioned Indiabulls thermal project in Amravati, Maharashtra, reported 93% PLF.

Imported coal based-plants reported flat-to-improving PLFs with only Adanis Mundra reporting a m-o-m decline of 75% versus 82%.

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On the face of it, a 4% energy deficit implies that pan-India daily power cut should be under an hour; the reality is that the country is still miles away from 24x7 electricity, JP Morgan analyst Sumit Kishore wrote in a report analysing India's power sector for FY14.

Kishore said the definition of demand does not include demand from non-electrified consumers which accounts for about 33% households as per the 2011 census. It also does not include scheduled power outages or blackouts, calling the CEA-defined deficit a chimera.

We concluded that flat electricity demand as reported by CEA this fiscal is not owing to back down by large loss-making SEBs, but owing to growth in electricity supply, weak demand by highly industrialised states, transmission bottlenecks in the South combined with poor gas availability, Kishore said.

The survey conducted by CEA for the 12th plan period estimated 7.8% growth in electricity demand over FY14-FY17. However, demand for the April-February period has remained almost flat. According to CEA, supply improved with a 19% rise in installed capacity since the end of the 11th plan in 2012. According to JP Morgan, electricity supply rose 5.5% in the country.

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