Low rainfall cuts hydro power generation - govt

NEW DELHI (Reuters) - The power ministry on Friday urged other ministries and government departments to curb power usage as hot weather has boosted demand while hydro generation has declined due to a weak start of the monsoon.

File photo of electric pylons in Ahmedabad, February 21, 2006. REUTERS/Amit Dave/Files

The country’s weather office has said monsoon rains for the week ended June 24 were 68 percent below normal at 13.6 mm.

On Wednesday, the Metreological Department said total rainfall from the crucial June-September monsoon would be 93 percent of the long-term average, coming in below normal for the first time in four year.

A continued spell of dry and hot weather due to delay of monsoon has led to increased demand and a reduction in generation from hydro power stations, the ministry said in a statement.

“In the last few days, the shortfall in hydro generation as compared to corresponding days of last year was as high as 72 to 126 Million Unit (MU) per day,” it added.

Hydro power accounts for one quarter of India’s total power generation of 149,400 megawatts.

The live water storage at 81 major reservoirs, which account for 72 percent of total reservoir capacity in the country, has declined nearly 56 percent to 14.18 billion cubic meters (BCM) as on June 25, according to Ministry of Water Resources.

The monsoon hit the southern coast on May 23, ahead of the normal date of June 1, but its progress has been weak.

India’s peak power deficit in May was 11.7 percent, according to the Central Electricity Authority website

The power deficit was expected to further widen in June due to delayed monsoon, Rakesh Nath, head of Central Electricity Authority (CEA), told Reuters earlier this week.