Delhi: Power supply and consumption

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This is a collection of articles archived for the excellence of their content.


Demand for power


2009-2018, June- The dates on which Delhi’s demand for power-electricity had peaked
From: June 2, 2018: The Times of India

See graphic:

2009-2018, June- The dates on which Delhi’s demand for power-electricity had peaked

2010- 2018, July

Peak demand of electricity in Delhi, June-August, 2010-18
From: 7,000MW breached as city sweats, July 11, 2018: The Times of India

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Peak demand of electricity in Delhi, June-August, 2010-18


Sidhartha Roy, June 11, 2021: The Times of India

In 2016-17, Delhi per-capita power consumption was 1,561 units per annum against the national average of 1,122 and 78 % of the consumed power was purchased. The remaining comes from installed capacity within Delhi, with coal (59%) being the predominant generator, followed by gas (28%), hydro (10%) and solar power (3%).


Paras Singh, As mercury rises, demand crosses 6,000 MW , May 17, 2017: The Times of India

Delhi's peak power demand crossed the 6000 MW mark, clocking 6021MW -highest in 2017. The number marks the season's highest power-demand so far. Discoms estimate this year's peak power demand may reach record 6600MW .

With mercury levels reaching record levels, the power demand has been record levels as well. In April, the demand touched 5685 MW -the highest ever power demand recorded in April. It was a whopping 18% more than the peak power demand recorded in April (4797 MW) last year. Si milarly , last month it was the first time ever that the peak power demand in the capital crossed the 4000 MW for March, an increase of over 14% from the peak power demand in the month for last year (3617 MW).

Delhi consumes the maximum power among the major cities of the country . Currently hovering around 6000MW , the capital's peak power demand is thrice as much as of Kolkata (around 2100 MW), 4 times that of Chennai (15001800MW) and as much as 60% higher than financial capital Mumbai (3700MW). The power appetite of Delhi is nearly two and a half times the power of seven North Eastern states draw together, which is around 2500 MW .

Higher power demands have been attributed to growing population, rising standard of living and exceptionally hot weather. Starting from 2MW in 1905, 27MW in 1947 to over 6000MW now, Delhi's electricity appetite has grown exponentially .

Power discoms Tata Power and BSES claim that ample arrangements have been made to source adequate power to meet the peak power demand of Delhiites this year. These arrangements include long term PPAs and banking arrangements with other states.

2018, June

Peak demand may cross 7,000 MW, June 2, 2018: The Times of India

Delhi’s peak demand for power- electricity, 2009-2018
From: Peak demand may cross 7,000 MW, June 2, 2018: The Times of India

See graphic:

Delhi’s peak demand for power- electricity, 2009-2018

Delhi is edging closer to an all-time high in peak power consumption. While the city’s power needs rise by an approximate 8-10% annually, the intense heatwave this year is likely to spike the peak demand by up to 20%. Delhi government is preparing for a summer peak of 7,000MW, but industry experts warn that even that may be crossed in the next two months.

Usually, Delhi sees its power demand peaking in June or July. Already, the number of times the demand has peaked in May this year is six times higher than the previous year. “The worst of the summer is yet to come. Over the next few weeks, the demand may surpass all previous records. Discoms will carefully monitor the situation to ensure there is no sudden gap in the demand-supply ratio,” an official said.

Delhi government has told discoms to be on a high alert and be prepared for any crisis. The government has already started the process of penalising power companies for unscheduled outages.

TOI had reported on Wednesday how the peak temperature in the capital had stayed at 43° Celsius or above for eight straight days — making it the longest spell of intense heat in the month of May in five years.

On Thursday, the power demand peaked at 6,417MW around 3:33pm, a tad lower than Wednesday’s peak demand of 6,442MW. In days to come, the demand is expected to rise even further. “We normally see the power demand peaking between 3pm and 4pm when air conditioners are working in full swing. Demand can also peak at night,” an industry expert said.

Discoms, meanwhile, are taking no chances. “As the Met department has predicted an extremely hot summer, we expect the peak power demand to reach 1,850MW in areas under our jurisdiction. The demand will be met through our longterm tie-ups and other suitable arrangements, amounting to around 2,200 MW. Our power-banking arrangements with other states will contribute significantly to ensuring regular supply and will take care of any contingency requirements,” Sanjay Banga, CEO, Tata Power-DDL, said.

Peak power demand in BRPL’s areas in south and west Delhi, which had reached 2,745 MW in 2017, is expected to be around 2,882 MW this year. In east and central Delhi areas covered by BYPL, the peak power demand is likely to touch 1,668 MW against 1,469 MW last year. Discoms claimed that they had made adequate arrangements to source power to meet the peak demand of around 40 lakh consumers.

2019, May: 6,461 MW

June 1, 2019: The Times of India

A new high every day: City may breach 7,000MW mark

New Delhi:

The soaring temperature in the city has seen the power demand surging. Over the last week, a new record of the season’s highest power demand was recorded and according to discoms, the city might beat last year’s all-time peak record of 7,000 MW by the next week. On Friday, the peak demand recorded was 6,461 MW at 3.05pm.

As per power sector experts, the power demand in the capital has been soaring this year with the month of April-May recording a 22% growth over the corresponding period in 2018. The peak power demand in April 2018 was 5,200 MW. Experts said, this year, the demand in April crossed the 5,200 MW-mark five times, peaking at 5,664MW on April 30.

“Notwithstanding the intermittent pleasant weather, Delhi's power demand in 2019 is turning out to be up to 22 % more than the corresponding period last year,” a discom official said. The power demand in April 2019 has been higher on 19 occasions than the corresponding days last year.

However, the power demand between May 15 and 24, 2019, has been marginally less than the corresponding days last year as temperatures remained relatively pleasant due to the western disturbances. The peak power recorded in May 2018 was 6,442 MW on May 30. The capital’s peak power demand during this summer may clock 7,400 MW. Last summer, peak demand breached 7,000 for the first time — at 7,016 MW.

It is interesting to note that Delhi's peak power demand is substantially more than that of several cities and states. It is more than the power demand of Mumbai and Chennai put together, thrice than Kolkata, and nearly 2.5 times of the seven northeastern states put together. Arrangements have been firmed up by BSES discoms to source adequate electricity to meet the power demand of over 42 lakhs consumers, said an official.



Sidhartha Roy, April 2, 2021: The Times of India

Delhi’s Peak power demand in March, 2010-21
From: Sidhartha Roy, April 2, 2021: The Times of India

This March has not only been unusually warm, it was the ‘hottest’ March since 2010, with a mean maximum temperature of 33.1 degree Celsius. The rising temperatures are directly impacting the city’s power demand.

This March, the peak power demand on 24 days has been higher than the peak power demand on corresponding days in 2020. In fact, on the day of Holi — March 29, 2021 — when the capital witnessed the hottest day in 76 years, the peak power demand was nearly 600 MW and 25% more than the peak power demand on the same day last year, according to sources. On March 29, the maximum temperature was recorded at 40.1 degrees Celsius, the highest since March 1945 Though Delhi has witnessed a peak power demand of more than 4,000 MW on two occasions since 2010, this March is different, as it comes in the middle of a pandemic. Though the Covid-19 outbreak has severely hit power demand, the peak power demand has been going up since restrictions were gradually lifted last year.

The peak power demand last month was 3,749 MW, which was actually just a shade lower than that of March 2020 (3,775 MW). On 24 corresponding days, it was up by 56%. On March 31, 2021, the peak power demand was 3,610 MW, while it was 2,306 MW on March 31 last year.

From March to mid-May last year, the only power demand in Delhi was from domestic users as most people were home during the lockdown. While the capital had breached the 7,000 MW-mark of peak power demand in 2018, last year the peak power demand recorded was a muted 6,314 MW due to the lockdown and the weather.

However, as the restrictions were gradually lifted and shops and offices opened, power consumption went up too. In fact, since August 2020, Delhi’s peak power demand has been higher on 119 corresponding days vis-a-vis the previous year. In August, the figure was higher on six days, on 14 days in September, 17 days in October, 15 days in November and 10 days in December.

In 2021, January saw a big surge in demand and on 23 days, the peak power demand was higher than corresponding days in January, 2020. The figure was 10 days in February but 24 days last month, the highest since Delhi recorded the first Covid-19 in March, 2020.

This basically means that between August 2020 and March 2021, Delhi’s peak power demand was higher by nearly 50% of the corresponding days, vis-a-vis the previous years. On December 1, 2020, Delhi’s peak power demand was 3,504 MW and since then, the city’s peak power demand has increased by over 50%.

Winter peak power demand-


Sidharatha Roy, November 25, 2020: The Times of India

Peak power demand in Delhi in November and in winter as a whole, 2015-20
From: Sidharatha Roy, November 25, 2020: The Times of India
Delhi peak power demand (winters), 2015-20;
How discoms are geared up for winter, as in 2020
From: Sidhartha Roy, December 17, 2020: The Times of India

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Peak power demand in Delhi in November and in winter as a whole, 2015-20

Delhi peak power demand (winters), 2015-20;
How discoms are geared up for winter, as in 2020

Colder November: Power demand in Delhi surges past last year’s peak

NEW DELHI: With the temperatures plummeting in the city, the seemingly early onset of winter this year is getting reflected in the power demand in the city. The peak power demand this November has already surpassed that of the same month last year prompting the discoms to gear up to meet a much higher demand this winter.

On November 20, the season’s peak power demand was 3,678MW compared with 3,631MW recorded on November 15 last year, according to sources.

But that’s not all. The peak power demand has surpassed the corresponding demand on 12 days till November 24 compared with the same month last year. The days when the peak power demand surpassed figures recorded in the same month in 2019 was on November 2 to 4, 9 to 13, 18, 20, 23 and 24.

The power distribution companies expect the city’s peak power demand to go up to 5,480MW this winter, surpassing last year’s demand during the season. Last winter, the demand had peaked at 5,343MW.

The peak power demand in Delhi during winter has been going up gradually. While it was 4,125MW in the winter of 2015-16, it increased to 4,168MW the next winter and to 4,511MW in 2017-18. However, it dipped to 4,472MW in the winter of 2018-19.

Earlier this month, the three discoms in the city, BSES Yamuna, BSES Rajdhani and Tata Power, had announced their winter action plan saying they were fully prepared to ensure adequate power during this season.

As part of the plan, BSES had said, “Ensuring reliable supply in any season is as much the function of proper electricity arrangements as also accurate demand forecast and robust distribution network.” It added that its supply arrangements during the winter months included long-term agreements with power plants, including hydro and Delhi-based gas fuelled generating stations, apart from more than 190MW of wind power, 70MW of solar power and 25MW from waste-to-energy.

Both BSES and Tata Power had said that they were using cutting edge technology to ensure 24x7 power supply, including advanced statistical forecasting models, combined with state-of-the-art weather forecasting solutions like artificial intelligence and machine learning. BSES had said that in case of shortage its discoms would buy short-term power from the exchange at affordable rates.


Winter peak power demand-in Delhi, 2015-21
From: Sidhartha Roy, March 1, 2021: The Times of India

See graphic:

Winter peak power demand-in Delhi, 2015-21

High demand: causes

2018: lowest tariff among big cities; inefficient ACs

How cheap power, inefficient ACs are pushing capital to the brink, June 13, 2018: The Times of India

High demand for power in Delhi: and its causes
2018: lowest tariff among big cities; inefficient ACs
From: How cheap power, inefficient ACs are pushing capital to the brink, June 13, 2018: The Times of India

Night Peaks Show Domestic Consumption Mostly Driving Up Demand

Cheaper electricity, combined with a lack of regulation to ensure efficient performance of air conditioners, is pushing up Delhi’s electricity demand to record levels.

A new analysis by the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) released on Tuesday shows subsidised electricity and severe heat, combined with heavy use of air conditioners by the domestic sector, is fuelling this huge demand.

On June 8, 2018 Delhi’s peak demand hit an all-time high of 6,934 MW at 3.20pm, about 6.25% higher than last year’s 6,526 MW recorded on June 6, 2017. Electricity in the capital is cheaper than most other cities. Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission (DERC) has slashed electricity rates for domestic consumers by 12-25% across all consumption slabs this year. Delhi government makes it even cheaper by providing a 66% subsidy on the rate for households that consume less than 400 units a month, and an additional rebate of Rs 100 on the fixed charge to households that consume less than 100 units a month.

The CSE analysis has found that the subsidised 400 units can easily accommodate use of one AC, lights, fans and other appliances. “If a 3-star split AC runs for six hours a day for 30 days in a month, it will consume about 260 kWh of electricity, which can be easily covered under the subsidised 400 units a month. Delhi government data shows that the subsidy was availed by 82% of homes last year — which means even higher income households are benefitting from the low rates, since there is no mandate for energy audits or compulsory disclosure of annual energy consumption,” says the analysis.

Even the highest slab with maximum rate in Delhi kicks in only if the monthly consumption crosses 1,200 units and is charged just Rs 7.75 per unit; in comparison, the maximum tariff in Mumbai is of Rs 9.95 per unit and is applicable on monthly consumption above 500 units. This is exacerbated by weak energy efficiency standards for air conditioners in India. For example, between 2013 and 2018, India produced more than 26.5 million AC units but more than 60% of those were 3-star rated as opposed to 5-star rated that is most

energy efficient. The International Energy Agency recently found that India has the worst market average measure of energy efficiency compared to major economies like US, Europe, Canada, China, Japan, Korea and Singapore.

CSE’s analysis also reflects that the residential sector has a major footprint on electricity demand. This is evident from the fact that peak demand is often highest at night compared to afternoon. During the month of May, for as many as 21 days, late night peak demand has been higher — up from 14 days in 2016. A typical summer day in Delhi has two peaks, one during the day (driven by commercial activities) and other around midnight (driven by residential sector). On an average, these two peaks have become almost identical now, says the analysis.

Electricity consumption in Delhi has increased by almost 42% between 2006-07 and 2017-18. On an average, electrified households in Delhi consumed about 260 kiloWatt-hour (kWh) of electricity monthly in 2016-17, similar to the electricity consumption of an average German household, the analysis added.

Power consumption

As in July 2015

The Times of India, Jul 20 2015

Power consumption in July 2015, Delhi; Graphic courtesy: The Times of India, Jul 20 2015

City records dip in peak power demand this season

Delhi's power demand seems to have finally plateaued. From a constant 10%-15% surge in demand every year in the past decade, it appears the peak power demand for the current year is unlikely to surpass the previous year's. Delhi's power demand on Friday was 5,051 MW and power sector officials said it will dip further or stay constant in days to come if rains continue.Meanwhile, trends have shown that Delhi's annual power demand usually peaks within the first fortnight of Ju ly, and now it appears unlikely that Delhi will cross last year's all-time peak demand of 5,925 MW recorded on July 15. This would mark the first time in almost a decade that peak power demand does not exceed the previous years.

So far, Delhi recorded 2015's highest power consumption on June 19 when the demand touched 5,856 MW . Delhi government and the power companies had been anticipating that the year's peak demand would touch 6,200-6,300 MW by July when humidity was at its maximum and most households switched to airconditioners round-the-clock. “However, unless there is an unexpected surge in power consumption towards the end of July, it is unlikely that Delhi will now cross last year's peak demand. From a steady increase over the past ten years or so, it seems that power consumption in the capital has finally reached its peak and will stay within 6000 MW , said an expert.

With one exception in 2011, trends show that Delhi reaches its peak in power consumption either in June or July. “Only once in 2011, the city reached its peak power demand on August 2. So while it is still possible that we may see a similar situation in 2015 as well, the chances seem doubtful. The weather so far appears to be favorable and seeing a 1,000 MW increase in power consumption over the next two weeks is off the mark, said another expert.

While power sector officials said it was difficult to assess exactly why the demand had plateaued, experts said it could be due to a combination of increased use of energy efficient gadgets as well as optimum use of energy resources.“The fact that Delhi's power demand is not rising as much as it did a few years ago is good news for the city . Discoms will now be in a better position to forecast demand and make arrangements accordingly , said an official.

Power cuts

2017-18: lowest ever

Power cuts in 2017-18 lowest ever, govt data show, February 19, 2018: The Times of India

Delhi witnessed its lowest ever power cuts in the current financial year that also saw the highest ever peak power demand, according to a Delhi government data.

A government official said reduction in power cut points towards improvement in processes and systems of electricity supply and transmission.

“At 0.06%, Delhi witnessed lowest ever load shedding in 2017-18. This is almost six times lower than 0.4% witnessed in 2014-15,” the data stated.

Since 2014-15, the percentage of power cuts has been continuously dropping. From 0.4% in 2014-15 it dropped to 0.14% in 2015-16, 0.1% in 2016-17 and 0.06% in 2017-18, it stated.

Discom officials said this reduction in power cuts is noteworthy as the peak power demand has been rising over the years. Delhi’s peak power demand shot to 6526 MW on June 6, 2017, the highest ever.

The fact that the city’s electricity demand crossed the 6,500 MW reflects the robustness of power distribution and transmission system in the the national capital, they said.

BSES Rajdhani Power Ltd and BSES Yamuna Power Ltd together supply electricity to nearly two-third area of Delhi. Tata Power Delhi Distribution Limited supplies electricity to north and northwest Delhi. The discoms attributed the decrease in power cuts to coordination among various stakeholders, strengthened network capacity, use of latest technology and adequate power purchase agreements to meet the city’s electricity needs.

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