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India’s electricity demand touched a record 185.82 gigawatts (GW) on Wednesday morning, crossing the previous record of 182.88GW witnessed on 30 December.

The development hints at a recovery in economic activity after massive disruptions in the wake of the covid crisis. Energy consumption is linked to higher overall demand in the economy. “The peak demand for power crossed 1,85,820 Megawatt at 9:35 AM on today. This is the highest ever, a record," power and new and renewable energy minister Raj Kumar Singh said in a tweet.

“The demand (and supply) of power in January (up to 19.01.2021) has grown by 8% as compared to the corresponding period of last year.This is the highest rate of growth ever. The surging demand for power is a certain indicator that our economy is getting back on track," Singh tweeted.

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Wednesday’s development follows a revival in other economic indicators, such as refineries, goods and GST collections, and railway freight volumes. India’s peak demand in FY19 was at 168.74GW.

“Wheels of Economy are Turning: Breaking all records, peak demand for power crossed 1,85,820 megawatt at 9:35 am today," added Piyush Goyal, minister for railways; commerce and industry; consumer affairs and food and public distribution, in a tweet.

India has an installed power generation capacity of 373.43GW. The country’s peak electricity demand came down with commercial and industrial power demand taking a hit after many factories were shut down during the covid-led lockdown. However, domestic consumption, which generates comparatively lower tariffs, was up. The industrial and agriculture sectors account for 41.16% and 17.69%, respectively, of India’s total power demand. Commercial electricity consumption accounts for 8.24% of the demand.

“All-India daily-peak demand was higher by an average of 6.5%/6.2% YoY in Q3FY21 and by 3%/5.3% YoY in Jan’21 (MTD till 17th)," ICICI Securities wrote in a report on Wednesday. “Improvement in overall demand on the back of higher C&I (commercial and industrial) and retail demand has been the major factor behind this improvement."

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