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Economic dislocation
Can we stop the clock?
Business Standard

Protecting power

The sector requires special attention

Topics
Coronavirus | State electricity distribution companies | Lockdown

Business Standard Editorial Comment 



Part and parcel of the nationwide announced to combat the spread of Covid-19 is that most industrial units are either shut or operating at a fraction of their capacity. One consequence is that demand for electricity has fallen sharply, hitting a five-month low on just the first day of the national . Industrial demand, together with the offtake from Indian Railways — passenger services of which have also been suspended — constitutes 40 per cent of national power demand. The other issue is that the industrial segment of the market is the paying section, which helps cross-subsidise domestic and household power consumption. This comes at a bad time for electricity distribution companies, or discoms, which already owe over Rs 80,000 crore to generation companies. The number of consumers not able to pay their power dues will increase in this period, further hampering the discoms’ liquidity situation. If discoms are not able to buy power from generation companies, there is a real possibility of widespread load shedding — which would not only hamper the output of those working from home but might have serious public-health effects if hospitals, quarantine centres, and other medical installations find themselves without power to run lifesaving equipment.

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First Published: Tue, March 31 2020. 23:35 IST

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