NEW DELHI: Summer has just begun but blackouts have already started getting longer as spot power prices rise sharply, leaving financially weak utilities struggling to cope with rising demand.
The average duration of power cuts has risen 26% in February to nearly seven hours per month. The power ministry’s ‘Urja’ portal said these outages are at the 11 KV (kilo volt) feeder lines that supply to step-down distribution transformers. The outages at consumer end could, thus, be longer due to faults in distribution networks.
In January, the duration of blackouts had shrunk to five hours 17 minutes per month, the lowest since February 2017. The outages have been getting shorter after peaking in August 2017 but has been on an uptick, the portal shows. Spot power prices too appear to be following a similar trend. On Wednesday, Indian Energy Exchange said average day-ahead market clearing price stood at over Rs 4 per unit in March, a 24% increase from Rs 3.23 per unit in February and 57% rise over Rs 2.56 per unit in March 2017.
A Crisil report said monthly peak prices on power exchanges in 2018 have averaged at over Rs 7 per unit, almost twice the level of 2017, and spot prices will rise further due to “structural and seasonal reasons”. This is borne out by data on the ministry’s ‘Vidyut Pravah’ portal at around 9 pm on Wednesday. The average price stood at Rs 4.45 per unit, with most states showing a price of in excess of Rs 6. But more important, the portal showed a surplus capacity of just 168 MW (mega watt), down from over 1,000 MW a few hours earlier, indicating a stretched situation.
One of the key factors contributing to the situation is private power plants running out of steam just when summer demand is growing, leaving a big gap on the supply side.
Source by indiatimes..Share: