India’s Electricity Demand Sees Drop Despite Factories Reopening
Electricity pylon and electrical power lines. (Photographer: Karen Dias/Bloomberg)

India’s Electricity Demand Sees Drop Despite Factories Reopening

(Bloomberg) -- As parts of India’s economy started reopening in a phased manner this week, electricity demand was expected to pick up. But official data reveals a surprise drop.

Electricity consumption during the first two days of the week started April 20 averaged 2,827 million kilowatt hours, 3.7% lower than average in the prior seven days, data from grid operator National Load Despatch Centre show. The unexpected decline points to initial challenges in cranking up factories, including mobilizing workers, as well as restoring raw material and machinery supplies.

India allowed restart of some economic activity from Monday as it sought to limit damage to the economy after efforts to contain Covid-19 brought work to a standstill. Barring exemptions for some business activities, almost all of the nation’s 1.3 billion people are required to stay-at-home for 40 days through May 3.

“You can’t restart factories at the push of a button, especially during these times,” said Bharat Rohra, chief executive officer at Jindal Power Ltd. “Reorganizing workers and material is going to take time and power demand will start picking up slowly in the coming days.”

A milder summer over the past few days in some parts of the country may have also played a part, trimming domestic demand for cooling, Rohra said.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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