India’s electricity demand is breaching past records, helping coal-based power plants operate at higher capacity in non-summer months after a gap of several years.
Electricity demand has risen in western and southern regions and, unlike in past years, not due to seasonal variations. Experts are optimistic of a further rise as more commercial units come online. Power producers said adequate availability of coal and part payments from state distribution companies are helping plants operate at better levels.
Power secretary Sanjiv Sahai said thermal power plants generated 141GW when the country’s peak hour demand surged to a record 187.5GW last Friday. The peak demand was up 12 per cent year-on-year.
Registering such peak power demand is unusual in January, as the country usually sees a surge in demand in May due to hot weather. In the past five-six years, peak-hour consumption has also increased shortly during September-October due to warm weather and agricultural load.
A Coal India Ltd (CIL) executive said coal-based power generation accounted for 78.6 per cent of the country’s total generation on January 22.