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Slowdown takes India’s annual power demand to lowest in 6 yrs

India’s annual power demand in the year 2019 grew at its slowest pace in six years, data sourced from the Central Electricity Authority showed
New Delhi: India’s annual power demand in the year 2019 grew at its slowest pace in six years, with December being the straight fifth month of decline, government data showed on Tuesday. The news comes as the economy reels under a slowdown because of a decline in sales in about every sector and factories cutting jobs. The drop in India’s annual power demand is significant because it is seen as an important indicator of industrial output in the country. A continuous decline also indicates that the slowdown is here to stay.

India’s annual power demand grew at 1.1% in 2019

According to data sourced from the Central Electricity Authority, India’s power demand grew at 1.1 percent in 2019 — the slowest growth since 2013 when it plunged to 1 percent. The drop in electricity demand in 2013 was preceded by three strong years of consumption growth of 8 percent or more. In December 2019, electricity demand fell 0.5 percent when compared to the corresponding month of the previous year. The only two states that were an exception to the trend were the western states of Maharashtra and Gujarat. The two states are India’s two most industrialised provinces.

The backdrop

The steepest decline in demand was witnessed in October 2019 when the figures plunged by 13.2 percent when compared to the corresponding month of the previous year. It was the biggest fall in electricity demand in India in more than 12 years. Industrial work accounts for more than two-fifths of India’s annual electricity consumption. Domestic consumption, on the other hand, makes nearly a fourth and agriculture more than a sixth. The declining trend is especially worrisome for the debt-laden generation companies that are under financial stress due to non-payment of dues by distribution companies.