In April, India’s electricity demand reached a new high as the country’s northern states endured the warmest pre-summer months in decades, sparking the largest power outage in more than six years
According to a study of government data, power demand increased 13.2 percent to 135.4 billion kilowatt hours (kWh) as electricity demand in the north increased by 16% to 75%.
Electricity consumption is projected to rise as the Indian Meteorological Department predicts above-average maximum temperatures in most sections of the west central, northwest, north, and northeast.
This year has seen unprecedented heat in India and neighbouring Pakistan, putting more than a billion people at risk, according to scientists, who attribute the early commencement of a hot summer to climate change.
In April, major power outages were caused by high electricity consumption, as utilities battled to regulate demand as coal supplies depleted. Power supply fell 2.41 billion units, or 1.8%, short of demand, the largest shortfall since October 2015.
According to government data, demand for power in Delhi increased by 42% in April, while demand in northern regions such as Punjab and Rajasthan increased by 36% and 28%, respectively.
Soaring temperatures cause Sikkim, a small hilly state in the northeast known for its stunning mountains, to increase its electricity consumption by 74.7 percent.
Because of the higher temperatures, power consumption in Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand, two other Himalayan states popular with visitors seeking a respite from the heat of the plains, increased by more than a sixth.
According to the data, other northern states such as Haryana and Uttar Pradesh, as well as Jharkhand in the east, had an increase in electricity demand of more than 25%.
According to the data, seven states, including southern Andhra Pradesh, experienced their worst power outages in more than six years. The majority of the states were in the north, where temperatures soared as a result of the heatwave.
India is expected to suffer further power outages as utilities’ coal inventories fell 13 percent, the lowest pre-summer levels in at least nine years, despite state-run Coal India, which accounts for 80 percent of India’s coal output, increasing production by more than 27 percent.