Electricity consumption in the country fell 5.5% year-on-year (y-o-y) to 95 billion units (bu) in November, recording the fourth straight month of contraction. The decline was a steep 12% in October. The continuance of the decline in power consumption belies the government’s claim that extended monsoon was the only reason behind the contraction in power demand in August-October.
Power demand grew just 1.5% in April-October this year, compared to an average growth of near 5% in the past five years. According to Moody’s, the sharp decline in power demand is symptomatic of a slowing economy.
The government has allocated Rs 937 crore for exploration of mines that are not associated with Coal India, for the ongoing financial year. Of this fund, Rs 120 crore has been earmarked for regional exploration and Rs 817 crore for detailed drilling, Coal Minister Pralhad Joshi said.
Regional exploration has been planned for 37 coal blocks and 10 lignite blocks whereas detailed drilling has been planned for 121 coal blocks and one lignite block, Joshi said adding that such exploration programme is approved every year.
Power plants not having power purchase agreements will start getting coal supplies or linkages under auctions from Coal India Ltd. and Singareni Collieries Company Ltd. in a few months, which would help reduce stress in the sector.
According to methodology issued in this regard by the union power ministry, CIL and SCCL will earmark coal mines for supply to such power plants and auctions would be done every quarter.
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has asserted that the corporate tax cut bonanza, which would result in revenue foregone of ₹1.45 lakh crore, would help India become a “manufacturing hub” as it would boost new investments into the manufacturing sector.