Power generation falls for third straight month in October

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Published: November 5, 2019 4:20:45 AM

The PLF data for the month has not been made available yet.

power sector, power industryThermal power plants generated 78.3 BU, 19.8% lower than October last year, indicating a further fall in their plant load factors.

Power generation in the country fell 12.7% year-on-year (y-o-y) in October, recording the third straight month when electricity produced was less than the corresponding year-ago month.

According to provisional data from the Central electricity authority, 105.6 billion units (BU) were generated in the month compared with 121 BU in October 2018.

Thermal power plants generated 78.3 BU, 19.8% lower than October last year, indicating a further fall in their plant load factors (PLF). Renewable energy sources decreased their generation by 6.4% y-o-y in the same month to 7.3 BU, in spite of a 15% rise in its installed capacity.

Since electricity cannot be stored, generation is the most robust indicator of consumption trends. While the government has attributed the fall in demand to extended monsoons this year, a section of the industry feels that it could also stem from the Union power ministry mandating financially weak state-owned electricity distribution companies (discoms) to open and maintain adequate letter of credit (LC) as payment security to power plants from August 1. Though generation has fallen since August, it is not immediately known if this has led to higher duration of power cuts across India as the government’s Urja portal, which publicises this data, has not been updated since July.

The PLF data for the month has not been made available yet. PLF of coal power plants — many of which are already distressed due to lack of adequate demand and coal supply issues — touched an all-time low of 51.1% in September.

In August and September, electricity consumption fell in Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and Odisha, where industrial and commercial users usually account for around 40% of electricity consumption.

Other major states where power usage fell were Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Kerala. The state-wise data is not available yet.

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