Power usage rose 19% in first fortnight of May

Consumption rose to 51.7 billion units

Power consumption in the country grew by about 19% in the first fortnight of May to 51.67 billion units (BU) over the same period last year, showing recovery in industrial and commercial demand of electricity, according to power ministry data.

Power consumption in the first fortnight of May 2020 was 43.55 BU. The power consumption in the entire month of May last year was 102.08 BU.

During the first fortnight of May (from May 1 to 14), peak power demand met or the highest supply in a day touched the highest level of 168.78 GW (on May 6, 2021) and recorded growth of more than 15% over 146.54 GW (peak met) recorded in the same period in 2020 (on May 13, 2020).

The power consumption in April grew almost 40% to 118.08 BU. Power consumption in April 2020 had dropped to 84.55 BU from 110.11 BU a year earlier, after most economic activity was halted following the imposition of the national COVID-19 lockdown in the last week of March 2020.

The power consumption had also declined in May 2020 to 102.08 BU, from 120.02 BU in May 2019.

Similarly, peak power demand met or the highest power supply in a day also slumped to 132.73 GW in April 2020 from 176.81 GW in the same month in 2019, reflecting the impact of the lockdown on activities.

The fewer economic activities also resulted in a fall of peak power demand in May 2020 to 166.22 GW from 182.53 GW in May 2019.

“Energy is derived demand, and with onset of summer and the productive pre-monsoon cycle of the Indian economy, an uptick is always expected,” said Davinder Sandhu, Advisor Primus Partners. “Both energy demand and supply have risen by 25-40% over March-May 2021, with thermal PLFs (plant load factor or capacity utilisation) rising to 75% and more, after many quarters. This is aided by the opening of the economy in Q1 (January-March 2021), with rising economic output as well as sharp uptick in exports,” added Mr. Sandhu, who is also a former Advisor at the World Bank.

‘Second wave impact’

The second wave of lockdowns will certainly impact economic activity, and in turn, energy demand. The larger than usual increase in part is attributed to lower base, and as well as to the pent up demand being executed now, he added.

After a gap of six months, power consumption had recorded a 4.6% year-on-year growth in September 2020 and 11.6 % in October 2020.

In November 2020, the power consumption growth slowed to 3.12%, mainly due to the early onset of winter. In December 2020, power consumption grew by 4.5% while it was up 4.4 % in January 2021.

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