In what is a sign of sagging spot electricity demand in the country, there has been absolutely no off-peak hour trade on power exchanges since trading hours were extended last month.
Off-peak is the 17-hour period from 5pm to 10am the following day. On July 20, the two power exchanges, Indian Energy Exchange (IEX) and Power Exchange of India Ltd (PXIL) began trading round the clock. Officials at IEX, the predominant electricity trading platform, say that in the last fortnight, not a single megawatt of electricity has been traded during the off-peak hours.
“Till now, there have been no bids in the off-peak hours,” an IEX official told HT. Almost 80% of the spot electricity trade is carried out on IEX. Although the Central Electri­city Regulatory Commission (CERC) had directed the exchanges to extend trading hours from August 1, but they extended them on July 20 itself. The CERC order is for a six-month period on a pilot basis. However considering the falling trajectory of spot rates, it seems unlikely that demand would pick up anytime soon.
“The government is unable to appreciate that it is becoming a demand issue. Who has the money to buy?” asks Sambitosh Mohapatra, partner at PricewaterhouseCoopers India. Mohapatra says that the lack of demand is understandable considering the overall waning demand for spot power in the country in the last few years. “I don’t know if there was a study based on which the trading hours were extended,” he said.