Power Ministry Gears Up For Summer Surge: 229 GW Of Peak Electricity Demand Expected In April


Union Power Ministry has devised a multi-pronged strategy to ensure adequate availability of power during the upcoming summer months, an official release said on Thursday (9 March).

As per estimates of the Central Electricity Authority, the peak electricity demand is expected to be 229 GW during the month of April 2023, when the electricity demand is likely to be the highest in the country.

The demand then tapers off as monsoon season picks up from the southern part of the country and covers the whole country over the next 3-4 months.

With GDP growing at close to 7 per cent, the power demand has been growing in the country at close to 10 per cent per annum.

As per estimates, the energy demand is expected to be 1,42,097 million unit (MU) during April 2023, highest in the year 2023 before reducing to 1.41,464 MU in May and further declining continuously to 1,17,049 MU during November.

On Tuesday (7 March) Union Power Minister R K Singh chaired a review meeting with senior officers from power sector, Ministry of Coal and Ministry of Railways.

In the meeting, detailed discussions took place on various aspects to meet the high electricity demand in the upcoming months especially during April and May 2023.

As part of the strategy, the power Utilities have been directed to undertake maintenance for coal-based power plants well in advance so that no planned maintenance is required during the crunch period, a Power Ministry release said on Thursday.

According to the ministry, directions have already been issued to all Imported coal-based plants to run at full capacity from 16 March 2023.

Adequate coal stocks would be made available at the coal-based power plants, the ministry said.

During the meeting, member Railway Board assured availability of enough rakes for transport of coal.

The Ministry of Railways agreed to provide 418 rakes to different subsidiaries of CIL, GSS and captive blocks and also enhance the number of rakes in due course so that sufficient coal stock can be maintained at power plants.

Further, Gas-based power would be used to meet any peak demand.

The Power Ministry has directed NTPC to run its 5,000 MW gas-based power stations during the crunch period in April-May.

In addition, 4,000 MW of additional gas-based power capacity would be added by other entities for availability during the summer months.

GAIL has already assured the Ministry of Power of the necessary supply of gas during the summer months.

Further, all the hydro plants have been instructed to operate in consultation with RLDCs/ SLDCs (Regional/State Load Dispatch Centres) to optimise water utilisation in current month for better availability during the next month.

An additional capacity of 2,920 MW would be available through new coal-based plants which would be commissioned by the end of this month, the ministry said.

In addition, after direction from the power ministry, two units at Barauni (2X110MW) will be made available during crunch period.

During the meeting, Union Power Minister asked power companies to ensure that there is no load-shedding during the summer months.

Singh asked all stakeholders to closely monitor the situation and take proactive actions to meet the electricity demand during the coming months.

The Minister also asked CEA to ensure that a fair and transparent mechanism is devised for allocation of coal to various States/UTs.