Power Survey May Have Overestimated Need
Demand in 2017-22 may be 15% lower than forecast earlier
New Delhi: India could have overestimated electricity demand for five years starting April next year and, after interactions with states, has realised that the requirement may be lower by over15%.
A senior power ministry official said with surplus installed generation capacity and low demand, the domestic power plants are expected to operate at low capacity of 55-60% in that period, which is the international average.
The 18th Electric Power Survey (EPS), an exercise of electricity demand forecast for 12th Plan and beyond, predicted a demand of 298 GW in 2017-22. However, recent exercise by the power ministry for the next such survey and also under its flagship 24x7 programme showed that the demand could be 248 GW or even lower at 239 GW with the use of energy-efficient appliances, the official said.
The survey, which forms the basis of generation and transmission planning for the power sector, is collected by the Central Electricity Authority (CEA), a technical planning body under the power ministry that aggregates information provided by states to regional power centres years in advance. The power ministry discovered the variations in demand projections during preparation of state-specific action plans for providing 24x7 power for all by 2019.
The ministry is, however, not ruling out the possibility that states could have missed out on requirements of consumers in remote areas that are still not connected to the electricity grid. The demand was estimated at 298 GW on the back of high growth in states at the time of preparation of the surveys, a CEA official said. The demand was growing at a reasonable rate till the last three years. Economic slowdown and cyclical correction has led to a decline in demand, he said.