The COVID-19 lockdown has led to shut down of all non-essential commercial activities across the country
New Delhi: The Plant Load Factor (PLF) of thermal power plants is likely to fall below 53 per cent in the current financial year (2020-21) in the wake of the ongoing lockdown due to the coronavirus outbreak.
“A decline in PLF of thermal power plants to below 53 percent during FY21 is expected on account of subdued demand from industrial and commercial segments and gradual ramp-up in economic activity post COVID-19 lockdown,” CARE Ratings said in a statement.
The COVID-19 lockdown has led to shut down of all non-essential commercial activities across the country. Consequently, the electricity demand from industrial and commercial customers has reduced significantly while the residential demand is expected to have increased.
According to Central Electricity Authority (CEA), India’s electricity demand registered a growth of 0.26 per cent last financial year. Power demand increased to 1,252.61 billion units (BUs) in 2019-20 from 1,249.33 BU in 2018-19.
As a result of COVID-19 along with subdued demand from industrial states, extended monsoon, average PLF of thermal power plants declined to 56.08 per cent in 2019-20 compared to 60.30 per cent for 2018-19. The PLF of thermal power plants further declined to 52.55 per cent for March 2020 mainly on account of COVID-19 lockdown.
The ratings agency has said that the generating companies will continue to generate and supply electricity due to essential nature of it and may have to face liquidity issues in the short-to-medium term as gencos need to pay in advance for purchase of coal while there is uncertainty regarding receiving payment from state discoms.