Maharashtra’s Electricity Consumption Dropped by 13% between January-August 2020

Maharashtra’s Electricity Consumption Dropped by 13% between January-August 2020

As per a new government report, Maharashtra’s electricity consumption dropped by 13 per cent in the first eight months of 2020 as compared to the same period last year. Electricity consumption is a good indicator of the state’s economic performance. Data shows that the state’s total power use was around 32,301.53 mega units between January and August 2020.  

The report was put forth by the finance department and was submitted to senior members of the cabinet including Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray this week. The report was published in order to get a bird’s eye view of the future from a macroeconomic perspective. As per official data, Maharashtra has a total of 20 lakh commercial electricity connections.

What’s most concerning about this report is the fact that electricity consumption by businesses and commercial users has not seen a rise even after the lockdown restrictions were eased by the state. This, as per officials, illustrates that the economy is yet to see a proper recovery.   

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It is said that electricity consumption by commercial units fell almost 32 per cent between January-August 2020 as compared to the same period in 2019. Data shows that although the consumption saw an uptick in the first two months of 2020, the first major dip was observed in March. At around the same time, the demand for electricity also decreased by 28 per cent year-on-year.

Even though relaxations were announced in July and August, the gap between consumption and demand only widened. However, there seems to be some positive news on the production front. Data shows that industrial power consumption which had fallen to 65 per cent in April this year has made a decent recovery.    

As expected, consumption from households increased as many switched to working from home during the 8 month period, and many continue to do so in the state. Domestic consumption reportedly increased by 2 per cent during January-August this year as compared to the same timeframe in 2019. 

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Pratap Hogade who is the President of Maharashtra Vij Grahak Sanghathana estimated that the losses faced by power distribution companies may total to ₹8,000 crore. He also acknowledged that most of these losses will be passed on to the consumers.

State Energy Minister Nitin Raut had previously talked about a plan that would ease the financial burden on the consumers with the help of an economic relief package. A formal proposal was put forward in August though the state is yet to provide approval. As per sources quoted by The Indian Express, the finance department has raised some concerns about this relief measure.

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