Covid-19 Impact: Power Demand Falls 30 Percent As Lockdown Hits Economic Activity


Power demand has fallen 30% since the start of the lockdown on March 25, compared to a year ago, and may fall further, forcing 65 GW of capacity to back down.

Most of the industrial and commercial demand has vanished as markets, and offices are shut, and trains have been cancelled.

Daily power demand dipped to an average 112 GW, lowest in at least six years, from 160 GW a year ago. Demand for spot power fell 40%, bringing rates down to Rs 2 per unit.

This is making thermal plants run sub-optimally, with capacity utilisation likely to have fallen to 60% from 40%, said Sabyasachi Majumdar, group head at ratings firm ICRA.

NTPC has already backed down around 15GW of its 50 GW thermal capacity.

“NTPC’s plants at Farakka and Kahalgaon were running at around 90% utilisation, which had to be reduced to 60% although all its units are running at present,” said a senior NTPC executive. “Normally, during this time of the year, some 113 GW of coal-fired plants operate. It is down to 67 GW.”

On Sunday, generation from renewable sources was around 23.4 GW, while that from hydel and nuclear was 10GW and 5.2 GW respectively. As weather turns warmer, solar generation is expected to rise and additional coal capacity may be backed down.

The Centre has announced a three-month moratorium to discoms on making payments to generation and transmission companies and will charge no penalty on late payment. Despite the lockdown, the power sector’s operations are running smoothly.

(With inputs from IANS)