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Electricity demand hits record as heat boosts cooling device usage

The India Meteorological Department has forecast a hotter summer in parts of the nation, with temperatures already crossing 44C (111F) at some places

Power grid, discom

Photo: Bloomberg

Bloomberg

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By Rajesh Kumar Singh

India’s electricity demand shot to an all-time high this week as a blazing summer forced citizens to crank up their air conditioning and other cooling devices. 
 
Peak demand surged to 216.1 gigawatts on Tuesday, breaching a previous record of 215.9 gigawatts reached a year earlier, said S.R. Narasimhan, chairman of Grid Controller of India Ltd. 

Rising electricity demand in the world’s most-populous nation due to a hotter-than-usual summer could potentially strain the country’s transmission network. It would also put pressure on the authorities to avoid blackouts at a time when some states are gearing up for elections. These poll outcomes could set the tone for Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s reelection for a third term in 2024.  

Power supplies will be crucial to keep industries running in the world’s fastest-growing major economy, and to protect citizens from deadly heat waves. The India Meteorological Department has forecast a hotter summer in parts of the nation, with temperatures already crossing 44C (111F) at some places. 

There are concerns of a repeat of last year’s blistering heat waves that overwhelmed the country’s power system, caused blackouts in several parts and parched wheat crops in the world’s second-biggest producer of the grain.

The power ministry estimates that the nation’s peak demand could rise further to 229 gigawatts this month. It has asked power plants to import coal to meet domestic supply shortfalls. Coal mines have ramped up operations as the government has asked them to operate at their highest production rates.

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First Published: Apr 20 2023 | 8:25 PM IST

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