The plant load factor (PLF) — a power plant’s output when compared with its maximum capacity — has been declining consistently for India’s thermal power plants since the start of this financial year. The average PLF of these plants (except gas-fired ones) slumped from 64.71 per cent in April to 49.18 per cent at the end of October.
The thermal plants’ PLF had seen an uptrend towards the second half of 2018-19. In October 2018, their average load had stood at 63.75 per cent.
State-owned thermal power stations recorded the sharpest drop in PLF — to 40.92 per cent in October 2019 from 60.4 per cent in the same month last year, data from the Central Electricity Authority (CEA) showed. Private-sector utilities were better performers, recording an average PLF of 64.91 per cent. Independent Power Producers (IPPs) operated at a load of 51.01 per cent.
An industry source attributed the drop in load at thermal power plants to intermittent disruptions in coal supplies and a weakening power demand.