New Delhi: State-run NTPC Ltd, India’s largest power generator, said on Saturday that fiscal first-quarter net profit dipped 1.14% from a year earlier period, even as it benefited from higher electricity output and improved efficiency.

The utility registered a net profit of 2,588.14 crore for the quarter ended June as compared to 2,618.17 crore posted for the corresponding period last fiscal on account of other income such as interest payment received.

The utility also posted its highest quarterly electricity generation, suggesting a recovery in the country’s electricity demand.

“The generation during Q1 FY 2018-19, is the highest quarterly generation, surpassing previous highest quarterly generation of 68.56 Billion Units during Q4 FY 2017-18," the utility said in a statement while announcing the standalone unaudited financial results for the first quarter of financial year 2018-19.

Power minister Raj Kumar Singh said last month that growing demand for electricity is an indicator of India’s economic growth, and with the 10% rise in billed energy, the gap between the average cost of supply and average revenue realised is also narrowing.

NTPC, which has an installed capacity of 53651 mega watt (MW) posted a 11.18% increase in total income to 22,839.98 crore for the first quarter as compared to 20,541.93 crore in the corresponding quarter last year.

India’s economy accelerated to 7.7% in the three months ended 31 March, the fastest in seven quarters, signalling a turnaround that could augur well for the election prospects of the Narendra Modi government.

“NTPC Coal stations achieved PLF (plant load factor) of 77.98% in Q1 FY 2018-19 as against National Average of 63.38%," the statement added.

PLF is a measure of output of a power plant, with a higher PLF indicating more output at a lower cost.

The utility is slated to play a key role in helping meet the demand generated by Saubhagya scheme (Pradhan Mantri Sahaj Bijli Har Ghar Yojana), launched to provide electricity connections to more than 40 million families in rural and urban areas by December 2018. This in turn will help improve India’s per capita power consumption of around 1,200 kilowatt hour.