Power demand goes up as mercury rises, curbs ease

An analysis of government data also showed that Delhi’s power demand increased by over 31% since lockdown curbs were relaxed on May 18 but the daily average demand was 11% lower than what was recorded during the same week last year.
People by the banks of the Yamuna river at Wazirabad, as Delhi battled a heatwave.(Sonu Mehta/HT PHOTO)
People by the banks of the Yamuna river at Wazirabad, as Delhi battled a heatwave.(Sonu Mehta/HT PHOTO)
Updated on May 26, 2020 12:57 AM IST
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Hindustan Times, New Delhi | ByHT Correspondent, New Delhi

As temperatures soaring in the national capital, the peak power demand in Delhi touched 5,268mw on Sunday evening — the highest so far for the season.

An analysis of government data also showed that Delhi’s power demand increased by over 31% since lockdown curbs were relaxed on May 18 but the daily average demand was 11% lower than what was recorded during the same week last year. Officials in the power department attributed this to a spike in the use of air-conditioners.

“The highest power demand for this season was 5,268mw, recorded at 11.10pm on Sunday. With the forecast of a heatwave, the demand is going to increase further in the coming days. The main factor behind the increase in demand is the cooling load. Power consumption has increased substantially at night due to the increase in air-conditioner use,” a senior official in the power department said.

According to government data, around 50% of Delhi’s power demand in summers is due to the use ACs, coolers and fans.

Parts of the city have been experiencing heatwave-like conditions since May 22, with the maximum temperature in Palam, Aya Nagar and Lodi Road often touching the 45°C mark.

On Monday, the maximum temperature recorded at Safdarjung, considered the official recording of the city, was 44°C, four notches above the season’s normal. In Palam, the mercury rose to 46.2°C, so far the highest temperature recorded in the observatory this season.

The India Meteorological Department has forecast that the heatwave is likely to continue till May 27.

Data shows that over the past week, electricity consumption peaked in the city at night on most days. This, however, was not the case during the same period last year.

“This is an indicator that even though the daytime consumption has seen a spurt, it is still not more than consumption at night. It means industries, offices and other commercial connections are yet to be fully operational in the city. The demand peaking at night reflects that domestic consumption is much higher. Otherwise, in this heat, all offices and commercial units would have been using ACs during the day,” a discom official said.

Under the Delhi government’s revised lockdown rules, while shops are allowed to open in an ‘odd-even’ sequence, they must shut by 7pm every day. Offices and industries too have been allowed to operate at full strength, provided their workers are based in Delhi. Meanwhile, malls, bars, pubs, and restaurants across the Capital are still shut.

According to government reports, on May 17, a day before the lockdown was relaxed, the peak power demand in Delhi was 4,000mw which shot up to 5,268mw within a week, on May 24.

In comparison, the demand last year was 4,933mw on May 17 and 5,094mw on May 24. The demand for the month in 2019 had peaked on May 31 at 6,461mw.

“The average peak power demand from May 17 to May 24 last year was 5,185mw. The same for this year was 4,619mw. With relaxations in the lockdown, there are signs of resumption in various economic activities, because of which the peak power demand in Delhi is gradually going to increase. This is normal for this time. It is expected to touch or breach the peak of 7,409mw recorded in July last year,” said a spokesperson of Tata Power Delhi Distribution Limited (TPDDL).

On April 26, HT had reported that the first month of the lockdown had not only decreased Delhi’s daily average power demand by 35% over the previous year, 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 has effectively been under lockdown, in phases, from March 22.

But, BSES, discoms and officials of the state power department said the primary reason for the increase in consumption was the “soaring temperature and heat wave”.

“Sunday’s demand was more than the peak power demand (5,094 MW) recorded on May 24, 2019. In fact, this is the first time this month that Delhi’s peak power demand has crossed last year’s peak on any given day so far. On May 31 last year, the peak power demand was 6,461mw,” a BSES spokesperson said.

On their part, the BRPL and BYPL successfully met the peak power demand of 2,448mw and 1,227mw respectively on Sunday night. Tata Power-DDL said it met the peak demand of 1,493mw.

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Wednesday, December 08, 2021