Lockdown effect: Peak power demand in Delhi drops by 15%
Going by the trend over the past 11 years, Delhi’s power demand is unlikely to peak any further this year, officials in the state power department said.Updated: Aug 04, 2020 00:44 IST
In a first in 11 years, the peak electricity demand in Delhi has seen a decline of around 15% (1,095 MW) compared to the previous year, data provided by power utilities showed on Monday. The city’s peak electricity consumption this summer has been lowest since 2017 because of the lockdown and also the weather, senior government and discom officials said.
This year, the peak power demand met by distribution companies (discoms) so far has been 6,314 MW, recorded on June 29. Going by the trend over the past 11 years, Delhi’s power demand is unlikely to peak any further this year, officials in the state power department said.
“If we analyse Delhi’s peak power demand since 2009, we will see that it has peaked 8 times in the month of July, 4 times in June (including this year) and once in August (August 2, 2011). So, we can say that Delhi, in all likelihood, has passed its peak demand for this year, contrary to initial projection of it crossing the 7,000 MW mark again this time,” said a senior power official who did not wish to be named.
Delhi’s all-time high peak power demand was registered on July 2 last year, when it had clocked 7,409 MW - an increase of over 250% from the peak of 2,879 MW recorded in 2002.
Government data accessed by HT showed that Delhi, on an average, has seen a year-on-year growth of 5% in its peak electricity demand over a period of 10 years. This means that the city’s peak demand used to increase by at least 5% compared to the previous year’s value. However, it is only this year that the demand has dropped by around 15%. Before this, between 2009 and 2019, the peak electricity demand had dropped only once in the year 2015 — but this dip was only of 1% (from 5925 MW in 2014 to 5846 MW in 2015).
“This year, because of the lockdown and the weather, the peak power demand has been muted. Under the fourth phase of lockdown, which started from around May 18, industries, shops and other commercial activities that were shut for the last two months were allowed to operate in full strength in Delhi. But, Covid-19 cases were increasing so rapidly in Delhi that majority of the industries and commercial establishments had voluntarily not resumed business,” explained a spokesperson of the two BSES discoms.
The Delhi government said that from July industrial and commercial consumption gradually started to pick up. “But that also is muted because of the favourable weather conditions. The intense heatwave in Delhi remains mostly during June and July, which is the time when the power demand mostly peaks. So, unless there is an intense heatwave coupled with extremely humid conditions, the power demand is unlikely to cross the 7,000 MW mark this year,” said the first power department official.
Government reports show that the first month of the lockdown had not only decreased Delhi’s daily average power demand by 35% over the previous year (2019), but it also turned out to be a period with the lowest average electricity consumption in the Capital over the last 11 years at least. Delhi was among the first cities to impose a lockdown which came into effect from March 23.
Though, sector-wise data (domestic, commercial, industrial, agricultural, etc) of Delhi’s power consumption for the months of June and July in 2019 and this year was not available, multiple power utilities operating in the city confirmed that maximum share of electricity consumption this year has been from households or the domestic category.
“Since May 18 this year, Delhi’s peak power demand has increased by over 50%. Further, if we compare the peak power demand of April, 2020 with that of July 2020, Delhi’s peak power demand has already increased by over 87%. Since June 1, 2020, Delhi’s peak power demand has increased by over 65%. The maximum consumption in all this has been from the domestic category which is because more people are staying indoors with offices promoting work from home,” another power department official said.