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CHENNAI : India's annual electricity demand fell for the first time in at least 35 years in the fiscal year to March, government data reviewed by Reuters showed, mainly due to strict coronavirus-induced lockdowns across the country.

Power demand fell 1% during the year ended March 2021, the data showed, mainly due to the imposition of lockdowns that resulted in a decline in electricity consumption for six straight months ending in August.

Demand for electricity has picked up since, and generation grew 23.3% in March from a year earlier, a Reuters analysis of daily load despatch data from federal grid operator POSOCO showed, making it the seventh consecutive monthly increase and the fastest since March 2010.

Power generation fell 0.2% during the year 2020/21, compared with the previous year, the POSOCO data showed.

Power generation in March grew much faster than the average increase of 6% in the last six months, mainly because India had imposed an intense nationwide lockdown in the last week of March 2020, resulting in a dramatic fall in power usage.

Electricity demand has been steadily increasing this year due to a pickup in economic activity and amid higher temperatures being recorded in March in North India, which could have led to higher use of air conditioning.

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