Peak power demand scales new high

By: |
January 21, 2021 2:00 AM

Peak demand reflects the highest power requirement level reached at a particular moment. The rise in demand is good news for power producers, as coal-based power plants were running at only 53% utilisation level in December owing to lower consumption.

Lower electricity volumes consumed by highly industrialised states in FY20 had dragged down the country’s annual demand growth to a six-year low of 1.3%.Lower electricity volumes consumed by highly industrialised states in FY20 had dragged down the country’s annual demand growth to a six-year low of 1.3%.

Peak power demand in the country touched a record 1,85,280 MW on Wednesday, signalling a spurt in commercial and industrial activities as businesses go through a “reset” phase after the lifting of lockdown curbs in recent months.
Wednesday’s demand breached the previous high of 1,82,888 MW recorded on December 30, 2020, power minister RK Singh said on Twitter. “The surging demand for power is a certain indicator that our economy is getting back on track,” he added.

Peak demand reflects the highest power requirement level reached at a particular moment. The rise in demand is good news for power producers, as coal-based power plants were running at only 53% utilisation level in December owing to lower consumption.

The installed power generation capacity of 3,74,199 MW in the country is more than twice the peak demand, implying that most power plants are running at the low plant load factor (PLF). The PLF of coal-based power plants fell to 50% in H1FY21 from 58% a year ago. Electricity consumption dropped 4.9% y-o-y to 841.4 BUs in April-November as industrial and commercial activities remained muted amid lockdowns.

However, power demand has been on the rise in recent months even in states like Gujarat, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal, where industrial and commercial consumers comprise more than 40% of electricity usage. On January 19, power used by these states were higher by 12.6%, 13.8%, 3% and 19.1%, respectively, than the year-ago period. In Gujarat, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal, it was lower by 12.5%, 11.6%, 12.9% and 13.7%, respectively, in h1.

Lower electricity volumes consumed by highly industrialised states in FY20 had dragged down the annual demand growth to a six-year low of 1.3%.

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