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India’s power demand, electricity prices ease amid cooling temperature


India’s electricity demand has come down with the recent drop in temperature and rains across North India, with the maximum power demand met currently below the 200 GW mark. 

Combined with wind and hydropower picking up, there is a small window of relief from the record high power demand met of 207.111 GW and a peak power shortage of 5.40% or 10.77 GW recorded on 29 April.

According to data from Power System Operator Corporation Ltd (POSOCO), the maximum power demand met on 23 May stood at 178.20 GW, down from 183 GW on 22 May. On 23 May, the peak power shortage was 270 MW.

Also, electricity prices in power exchanges have largely come down from the peak levels reached in April. In the day-ahead market on the Indian Energy Exchange, the average market clearing price for May 24 was 3.54 per kWH. For May 25, the average market clearing price in the day ahead market, however witnessed an uptick and was at 4.93 per kWH.

During the last week of April, the price in the day-ahead market was around the the upper limit of 12 per KwH.

Temperatures have been falling since the pre-monsoon showers in Kerala and rainfall due to Cyclone Asani in coastal states including Odisha and Andhra Pradesh a week ago. Further, temperature drastically fell in Delhi-NCR on Monday due to thunderstorms and rains.

With anticipation of further rains in parts of the country, power demand is expected remain low in the next few days.

The Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) said in a tweet on Tuesday: “Wet spell over northwest India today and over east India during next 2 days. Fairly widespread to widespread light/moderate rainfall with isolated thunderstorm/lightning/gusty winds very likely over Jammu & Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand.”

It has also predicted isolated rainfall over Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, north Madhya Pradesh on Tuesday and reduction in rains from Wednesday, 25 May, 2022.

However, analysts said that a larger electricity crisis is brewing with state-owned discoms unable to stock coal in preparation of monsoon months.

As of 23 May, the coal stock in the 173 plants tracked by the Central Electricity Authority (CEA) was 21.51 million tonne, 32% of the required inventory of 66.49 million tonne.

Out of these, 80 plants based on domestic coal and 10 imported coal based plants are surviving critical stock, which means 25% of the required stock.

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