Power demand has fallen 30% since the start of the lockdown on March 25, compared to a year ago, and may fall further, forcing 65 GW of capacity to back down. Most of the industrial and commercial demand has vanished as markets, and offices are shut, and trains have been cancelled.
Daily power demand dipped to an average 112 GW, lowest in at least six years, from 160 GW a year ago.
Coal India’s production in the ongoing fiscal is likely to fall short of the target even as the public sector miner has stepped up production to mitigate the challenges of excessive rain and low demand.
The public sector miner has produced 517.78 million tonnes (mt) of coal in the first 11 months of 2019-20. It had to produce 142.22 mt in March at an average of over 4mt per day to meet the target. The company has averaged around 2.56 mt per day in March.
According to sources, till March 28, coal production was around 591mt and the miner is likely to produce around 12 mt, taking the production for the fiscal to around 602-603 mt, which is less than 607 mt produced last year.
Peak power demand in the country dipped over 28% to 117.76 gigawatts (GW) on Saturday (March 28, 2020) as compared to 163.72 GW on March 20, showing the impact of nationwide lockdown amid COVID-19 outbreak. National Load Dispatch Centre data showed that in actual terms, the peak power demand met has come down by about 46 GW since March 20.
Amid concerns that Coal India Ltd may fall short of its 660 million tonne production target for the current fiscal, the miner has planned to ramp up daily output to meet the goal, officials said. Till December, the miner is expected to produce close to 390 million tonnes of coal and will require another 270 million tonnes in the last quarter of this fiscal to meet the annual production target.
The government said it is working to ensure critical coal supplies during the lockdown. Coal stocks at power plants stand at 41.8 million tonnes equivalent to 24 days consumption as of March 26, 2020. The minister informed that various steps have been taken to ensure the easy and adequate availability of coal to every coal dependent industry/Power Sector.