February 3, 2020 / 6:43 AM / 24 days ago

India electricity supply rises after 5 straight months of decline

NEW DELHI, Feb 3 (Reuters) - India’s electricity supply rose 3.25% during the month of January after five straight months of decline, provisional government data showed, in a relief for power producers.

Power supply rose to 106.36 billion units in January, up from 103.01 billion units last year, an analysis of daily load despatch data from state-run Power System Operation Corp Ltd (POSOCO) showed.

India’s Central Electricity Authority (CEA), an arm of the federal power ministry, is expected to release official data on power demand later this month. POSOCO releases provisional load despatch data every day.

Higher electricity supply could mean a rise in power demand, as electricity deficit in India is marginal. Electricity demand is seen by economists as an important indicator of industrial output and a deceleration could point to a further slowdown.

However, the potential rise would be from a low base, as electricity demand grew at the slowest pace in January 2019 in nearly two years, CEA data showed.

India’s annual electricity demand in 2019 grew at its slowest pace in six years. Electricity supply fell 0.4% in December, 4.2% in November and 12.8% in October, according to the CEA.

Annual consumption of electricity by industry accounts for more than two-fifths of India’s annual electricity consumption, according to government data, with residences accounting for nearly a quarter and commercial establishments for another 8.5%.

The country’s overall economic growth slowed to 4.5% in the July-September quarter, government data in November showed, the weakest pace since 2013 as consumer demand and private investment weakened.

India is expected to grow at the slowest pace since the global financial crisis during the fiscal year 2019/20. India also cut its estimates of growth for 2018/19 and 2017/18 last week.

Slower economic activity has resulted in a fall in sales of everything from cars to cookies, prompting some large scale industries such as the automobile sector to slash jobs. (Reporting by Sudarshan Varadhan; Editing by Michael Perry)

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