Tamil Nadu’s electricity demand increased over 9% to 9,086 million units in October this year from 8,266 million units in the same period last year, posting a positive growth for the first time since the lockdown was imposed in March to curb the spread of COVID-19.
Power demand is one of the metrics used to measure the level of economic activity.
Tamil Nadu has the highest number of factories among the States and is a hub of power-intensive sectors such as automobile, auto-components and electronics.
According to data gathered from the Central Electricity Authority (CEA), the all-India power demand increased about 11.5% to 1,09,630 million units in October this year from 98,363 million units in the comparable period last year.
Tamil Nadu’s peak demand in October this year was 14,323 MW; it remained flat, compared with 14,335 MW in the same month last year. The State’s power demand had crashed 25.6% in April and 14.5% in May amid the total lockdown. The recovery was slower till September.
Tamil Nadu further relaxed the lockdown in September, even allowing big showrooms and shopping malls to reopen, as part of the Union government’s Unlock 4 guidelines. The State in October extended the time for restaurants to function by an hour till 9 p.m. and for takeaway services till 10 p.m.
From April to October this year, the State’s power demand was 59,099 million units, down nearly 10% from 65,627 million units recorded in the same period last year.
The weakening power demand amid COVID-19 has also caused a stress in the finances of the State distribution companies.
Tangedco has been sanctioned over ₹30,000 crore under the Union government’s COVID-19 liquidity infusion package.
Tangedco’s outstanding dues to power generating companies stood at about ₹20,600 crore as in October, up 56% from ₹13,200 crore in the same month last year.
The outstanding dues had declined 5% since September. Tamil Nadu has the second highest outstanding dues among the State distribution companies after Rajasthan.