New Delhi: India’s electricity demand touched an all time record high of 176.724 gigawatts (GW) on Friday night at a time when the general elections to elect the 17th Lok Sabha are on.

This comes in the backdrop of mercury soaring in Central India on Wednesday, with the temperature reportedly touching 45 degrees Celsius in parts of Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra. Delhi yesterday also recorded the hottest day of the season with temperature touching 43 degrees Celsius in the national capital.

Mint reported on 19 March about India’s demand for electricity and auto fuel expected to go up as India approaches general elections.

“All India demand touched 176,724 MW (all time highest) at 23.06 hrs on 26 April, surpassing earlier peak of 175,590 MW on 18 Sept, 2018," power secretary Ajay Bhalla said in a tweet on Saturday.

In the build up to the general and the state assembly elections last year, additional power requisitioning by distribution companies had led to a short-term hike in electricity prices.

According to data collated by Icra and the Indian Energy Exchange (IEX), the demand for electricity, petrol and diesel picked up in March of 2009 and 2014, just before general elections. While the 2009 elections were held in five phases from 16 April to 13 May, the 2014 elections were held over nine phases from 7 April to 12 May. Polling this year is being held in seven phases from 11 April to 19 May.

Of India’s installed capacity of 350.162 GW, peak electricity demand has been low due to issues such as precarious finances of some state-owned electricity distribution companies, which prevents them from power procurement of the required quantum.

The all-time high for electricity in the spot market was 18.2 per unit for 4 October delivery last year. Of the estimated 1,200 billion units (BU) of electricity generated in India, the short-term market comprises 130-150BU.

The government claims that in the nine months of FY19, peak demand grew at 7.9% as compared to 2.8% in the corresponding period in FY18. It attributed this increased power demand to the spread of household electrification, increased supply to agricultural consumers, low hydropower generation and extended summers.

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