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Power Demand Improvement Slowed Down in November: Ind-Ra

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The all-India energy demand increased just 1.7% yoy to 99.6 billion units (BU) in November 2021, after growing 12% yoy in 7MFY22 says the recently published report of India Ratings and Research (Ind-Ra). The slowdown in the improvement was led by the onset of the winter season, impacting the demand from the northern region (up 2% yoy) and southern region (down 5% yoy).

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Ind-Ra believes that the reduction in the energy demand in November 2021 is also attributable to lower generation, as reflected in an increase in the power outages at thermal power plants due to coal shortages. Additionally, the all-India energy demand for the first 25 days of December improved 3.5% yoy to 88.7BU.

The total all-India generation increased marginally by 2% to 99.4BU in November 2021. The overall increase in generation was however supported by a 16.4% yoy increase in the generation from renewable sources and a 16% yoy rise in generation from hydro power sources, whereas the generation from coal-based thermal power plants reduced by 0.3% yoy.

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Furthermore, the electricity generation from renewable sources improved 16.4% yoy in November 2021 to 13.6BU, led by a 13% yoy improvement in the solar power generation to 4.8BU, and a 4% yoy improvement in the wind generation to 3.15BU.

The coal production cumulatively by Coal India Limited and The Singareni Collieries Company Limited (IND AA/Positive) increased 5% yoy to 59.4mt (October 2021: up 8% mom), owing to the improved all-India power demand. The same led to an 11% yoy improvement in the coal offtake to 56.8mt and the coal inventory at thermal power stations declined 53.2% yoy to 17.5mt in November 2021(October 2021: up 62% mom). The improvement in the domestic coal production has led to an improvement in the coal inventory levels, with the number of thermal power plants with critical or subcritical levels of coal stock as per technical criteria improving to 59 as on 30 November 2021 (October 2021: 77 plants; September 2021: 102 plants).

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Led by the slight improvement in the coal-based power generation and capacity addition, the plant load factor (PLFs) of coal-based power plants improved only marginally to 53.5% in November 2021 (November 2020: 53%). Furthermore, the thermal sector’s PLFs across the central, state and private sectors increased to 64.31% in November 2021 (November 2020: 60.6%), 52.35% (44.82%) and 61.55% (53.96%), respectively.

Led by the continued improvement in demand and the shortfall in the coal inventory faced by the thermal plants, the average short-term price at Indian Energy Exchange remained high and rose to INR3.1/kWh during November 2021 (November 2020: INR2.73/kWh), as the difference in the buy and sell bids contracted to negative 2,670 million units (November 2020: negative 4,257 million units). Furthermore, the average short-term prices for the first 25 days of December increased marginally to INR3.6/kWh.

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