Ministry Denies Slowdown In Thermal Power Sector Despite Lower Demand In October

Published : 24 Nov 2019 5:29 AM GMT
Ministry Denies Slowdown In Thermal Power Sector Despite Lower Demand In OctoberImage Credit: The Economic Times

The Centre on Wednesday, November 20, denied reports of a slowdown in the thermal power sector and said that the lower demand in October resulted due to increasing consumption of renewable energy and hydroelectricity, The Financial Express reported.

In a series of tweets, Minister of Power and New and Renewable Energy R K Singh explained the fall in demand for thermal power due to the fall in dependency on thermal energy.

“I dismiss the reports of a thermal power demand slowdown. We have brought flexibilization and took major steps to reduce inefficiency in the sector. A statement that the lower demand in October was indicative of a slowdown in the economy is nonsensical,” Singh said.

The minister also attributed the fall in demand due to the extended monsoon that overshadowed the agricultural season. “In October, the rainfall was 35 per cent more than the previous year, thus the agriculture demand for power fell, leading to the demand in October being lower than the corresponding demand last,” he said.

Singh further said that the total power generation increased by 7.4 per cent in the first quarter and 1.6 per cent in the second quarter of the current financial year. The minister also claimed that the “theory of economic slowdown” was given out by ill-informed people.

Power generation in the country fell 12.7% in October for the third consecutive month even when the electricity produced was less than the corresponding year-ago.

While the ministry did not cite industrial slowdown for falling power demand, electricity consumption is declining in Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and Odisha, where industrial and commercial users account for nearly 40% of electricity usage.

Power demand also fell in high-industrial electricity consuming states like Gujarat, Jharkhand and Punjab in October.

Renewable energy-based plants also witnessed a fall in their generation by 6.4% in the same month, in spite of a 15% rise in its installed capacity. Overall electricity consumption in the first 15 months of November has also fallen nearly 8%.

The power ministry expects an improvement in thermal power utilisation levels post-monsoon, as “the generation from hydro and wind has started reducing” and for the rest of the fiscal, “electricity demand will largely be met from thermal power stations”.

Utilisation level of coal power plants also fell to an all-time low in October, with their average plant load factor (PLF) recording 48.9% amid falling electricity usage.

Also Read: Only A Tenth Of Bad Loans In Thermal Power Sector Resolved: ICRA Report

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