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India Hit by Blackouts as Power Demand Soars During Heat Wave

Amid a relentless heat wave, India’s peak power demand surged this week to above previously expected levels, resulting in long blackouts in parts of the country.

Peak power demand in India hit a seasonal high of 235 gigawatts (GW) on Wednesday, due to surging electricity demand in the heat waves in many states.  

India’s all-time high peak power demand, currently at 243.27 GW, was recorded last September, Indian media report.

The record is set to be shattered as early as this summer amid surging power demand for cooling appliances in the heat waves and the high economic growth in the Asian economy.

Earlier this year, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) projected that India would see a warmer summer than usual with more frequent heat waves.

Currently, severe heat wave conditions are being observed in many parts of India, straining power supply and leading to outages.

According to a survey of advocacy group LocalCircles, cited by Bloomberg, 38% of 15,000 households in the poll reported daily blackouts.

The heat waves have prompted India to boost its coal use for power generation in an attempt to ensure uninterrupted electricity supply.

More coal-fired units were fired up at the start of the year in the country, amid a prolonged heat wave with above-normal temperatures which pushed electricity consumption higher. Power demand continued to rise with the expanding economic growth, too.

Utilities in India have also tried to limit the possibility of power outages during the general election which is being held between the middle of April and early June.

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India raised the share of coal in its power generation in April as sharply lower hydropower output has threatened blackouts as summer approaches.

Due to lower hydropower generation, India expects its biggest shortfall of electricity in June in 14 years, a government source told Reuters earlier this month.  

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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