Mumbai: Plant load factor of thermal power units declined to 47.9% in May from 63.6% a year ago on account of lower demand. However, demand in May picked up marginally from April as the country began to emerge from one of the word’s strictest lockdown.
India's energy demand declined 14.9% year-on-year to 102.7 billion units in May, as per public data. The covid-19 led lockdown led to a decline in commercial and industrial demand from major manufacturing states such as Maharashtra (down 11.3%), Gujarat (down 13.5%) and Tamil Nadu (down 15.1%).
The decline in power demand narrowed in May from 22.3% in April due to the gradual lifting of lockdown for certain economic activities, rise in domestic consumption with the peak summer season and increase in agricultural usage due to the onset of sowing season, a report from credit ratings agency India Ratings and Research said.
With the decrease in demand, electricity generation, excluding renewables, also decreased 17.7% year-on-year to 96.3 billion units in May with thermal generation declining 21.4% over the same period.
As prices crashed in the open market, short-term power price at Indian Energy Exchange was lower at ₹2.57/kWh in May compared with ₹3.34/kWh in the same month last year.
Adjusting to lower demand, production by Coal India Limited decreased 11.3% to 41.4 million tonnes in May 2020 for the second consecutive month, owing to lower production at its key subsidiaries -- agricultural usage Limited (down 3.7%), South Eastern Coalfields Limited (down 23.1%) and Central Coalfields Limited (down 29.5%) -- leading to a high coal inventory. Coal inventory at thermal power stations rose 70.5% year-on-year to 49.6 million tonnes per annum.