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India's March Electricity Use Falls 9.2% Over National Shutdown

Electricity supply fell to 100.2 billion units in March from 110.33 billion a year earlier, an analysis of load despatch data by state-run POSOCO showed.

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India's electricity use fell 9.2% in March, provisional government data showed on Wednesday, as consumption fell for the first time in three months due to a nationwide lockdown to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

Electricity supply fell to 100.2 billion units in March from 110.33 billion a year earlier, an analysis of load despatch data by state-run POSOCO showed.

That was India's fastest pace of decline in consumption since October, when power use fell at its steepest in over 12 years due to a broad economic slowdown.

As the scare of the spread of the coronavirus mounted, Prime Minister Narendra Modi first imposed a partial lockdown on March 22, following which states progressively increased restrictions culminating in a national three week shutdown starting March 25.

Power supplied was over 2% lower in the first three weeks of the month ending March 21. In the ten days that followed, electricity use fell by about a fifth, an analysis of POSOCO data showed.

Consumption of electricity in the last ten days of March in major industrial states such as Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu fell over a fifth, while power use in the western state of Gujarat fell over 30% compared with the average use in the first three weeks, the data showed.

Electricity demand from industries account for over two-fifths of India's annual electricity consumption, according to government data, with residences accounting for nearly a quarter and commercial establishments for less than a tenth.

The northern states of Punjab and Haryana, both of which are major agricultural states, saw the highest rates of declines during March, falling over 20% each.

(Reuters)


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