Elections add to heat as power demand touches record high

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Published: April 28, 2019 8:21:45 AM

In the auctions for such power supply agreements, states including Maharashtra, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, West Bengal and Haryana sought to tie up a cumulative 6,000 MW capacity for the election months to avoid power cuts.

lok sabha elections 2019, power demnad in lok sabha elections 2019, Peak power demand, non renewable power, Indian Energy Exchange, spot market, election season, power cutsPower demand in Karnataka was up 30% from the same day a year ago. Other major states registering high growth in consumption were Odisha (23.1%), West Bengal (18.9%), Bihar (17.7%), Uttar Pradesh (17.1%), Madhya Pradesh (15.2%), and Gujarat (12.6%).

Peak power demand of the country touched a record high of 176.5 gigawatt (GW) on Friday as temperatures soared with the onset of summer. Given the election season, states are also determined to minimise power cuts till the polls. Friday’s peak demand was 11.6% higher than the demand recorded on the same day in 2018.

Power demand in Karnataka was up 30% from the same day a year ago. Other major states registering high growth in consumption were Odisha (23.1%), West Bengal (18.9%), Bihar (17.7%), Uttar Pradesh (17.1%), Madhya Pradesh (15.2%), and Gujarat (12.6%).  As FE reported in March, states had started making arrangements to tie up with power suppliers on a short-term basis for election months at prices much higher what than they normally pay.

Also read: Direct fight between BJP, Congress in Madhya Pradesh; rebel challenge makes it tough for BJP

While the average all-India price at which states procured non-renewable power in FY18 was Rs 3.53 per unit, the price range for these bilateral power deals ranged between Rs 4.45 per unit and Rs 8.5 per unit. In the auctions for such power supply agreements, states including Maharashtra, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, West Bengal and Haryana sought to tie up a cumulative 6,000 MW capacity for the election months to avoid power cuts. The rise in power demand coincides with the addition of 2.62 crore household connections under the government’s Saubhagya scheme. According to government’s meteorological department, the highest maximum temperature of 46.6 degree Celsius was recorded at Khargone in Madhya Pradesh on Friday.

Although power demand increased, the average price of spot power in the Indian Energy Exchange (IEX) for Friday was Rs 3.3 per unit, 25% lower than the same day last year. While the highest power price in the spot market on Friday was Rs 4.5 per unit, the same last year was Rs 6.8 per unit. Experts have pointed out that states are growing cautious about fluctuating exchange power prices, which had breached the Rs 10 per unit mark several times last year due to surge in electricity demand and coal supply issue at a number of power plants.

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