Power consumption in the country grew 13.6 per cent year-on-year to 132.98 billion units (BU) in April, showing the impact of the early onset of summers and spurt in economic activities, according to power ministry data.
Power consumption in April last year was recorded at 117.08 BU, which was higher than 84.55 BU in the same month of 2020.
On the other hand, the peak power demand met, which is the highest supply in a day, during April this year remained at an all-time high of 207.11 GW. The peak power supply stood at 182.37 GW in April 2021 and 132.73 GW in April 2020.
The power consumption and demand were affected in April 2020 also due to the imposition of lockdown restrictions for curbing the spread of the deadly coronavirus. The power consumption in April 2019 (pre-pandemic period) was 110.11 billion units.
The experts are of the view that power consumption and demand rose unprecedentedly mainly because of the early onset of summers and showed that greater economic activities are pushing commercial and industrial requirements of electricity in the country.
Electricity use is expected to grow as India's weather office has forecast above normal maximum temperatures over most parts of the west central, northwest, north and northeast.
India and neighbouring Pakistan have been suffering from extreme heat this year and more than a billion people are at risk from the heat, scientists have warned, linking the early onset of an intense summer to climate change.
The unprecedented electricity use resulted in widespread power cuts in April, as utilities scrambled to manage demand as coal supplies dwindled. Power supply fell short of demand by 2.41 billion units, or 1.8%, the worst since October 2015.
Demand for power in Delhi rose 42% in April, with northern states such as Punjab and Rajasthan seeing electricity demand grow 36% and 28% respectively, government data showed.
Soaring temperatures lead to a 74.7% rise in electricity use by Sikkim, a small hilly state in the northeast famous for its scenic mountains.
The third wave of the pandemic hit the country in January, which forced many states to impose local restrictions such as night and weekend curfews. They had also taken measures, such as banning dining in bars and restaurants. These restrictions were eased gradually by the states.
Experts opined that the power demand and consumption would show robust growth in the coming months as the states have lifted almost all local restrictions after a decline in the positivity rate.
Going ahead, the power consumption would surge with increased industrial and commercial activities after the easing of lockdown restrictions and due to the long spell of summers in the coming months, according to experts.