New Delhi: India’s largest power generation utility NTPC Ltd recorded its highest ever quarterly generation in the three months ended 31 December, indicating a recovery in electricity demand.
“NTPC, the largest power generator of India, with installed capacity of 51,383MW (megawatt), has recorded its highest ever quarterly generation of 67,781MUs (million units) during Q3 of FY 2017-18 which is 10.39% more than the generation of 61,400MUs recorded during the corresponding period of last year,” the state-run utility said in a statement on Tuesday. The development assumes significance given that India’s largest power generator accounts for 16% or 51,635MW of the country’s installed power generation capacity of 331,117.58MW.
“There was an uptick in demand due to the cold weather and this is also an indicator that the economic pace is picking up,” said an NTPC executive, requesting anonymity.
This comes in the backdrop of an uncertain outlook for the power sector and the National Democratic Alliance government trying to revive electricity demand in the country.
Any fresh demand for electricity, the lack of which is weighing down the entire power sector, will also help in resolving the stressed assets conundrum and improve their financial viability.
“NTPC has also achieved commercial declaration of 4,415MW capacity during the first nine months of current year itself,” the statement added.
Power minister Raj Kumar Singh is of the view that the recently launched Rs16,320 crore Saubhagya scheme to provide electricity connections to over 40 million families in rural and urban areas by December 2018 will help improve India’s per capita power consumption of around 1,200 kilowatt hour (kWh), which is among the lowest in the world. According to the government, the Saubhagya scheme will require an additional 28,000MW of power, considering an average load of 1 kilowatt (kW) per household for eight hours a day.
The other power sector reforms in the works include a plan to implement the direct benefit transfer (DBT) scheme in the electricity sector for better targeting of subsidies and the proposed tariff slabs rationalization.
Also, to make discoms more responsive, any disruption in electricity supplies post March 2019 will be penalized and the cross-subsidy will be limited to 20% to help usher in efficiency.