The disruption in economic activities because of lockdown has resulted in a sharp drop in demand for power mainly from large consumers in the commercial and industrial sectors, said Praveer Sinha, Managing Director, Tata Power Company. It will have huge impact on power generation companies as the commercial and industrial operations account for over 52 per cent of total power demand in India. The demand from households and farm operations come to 24 and 18 per cent, respectively.
Sinha said that the lockdown necessitated by the coronavirus pandemic has caused major disruptions to normal economic activities in the country. "However, as an essential service provider and largest integrated utility in India, Tata Power's 11 thermal and hydro generation plants across six states in the country continue to operate. Our distribution and transmission business also continues to operate at five locations. Further, the renewable projects on 70 sites are also running as normal," he said.
The businesses and industrial sites have remained closed for six weeks due to the lockdown. In April, the power consumption dipped by 22.75 per cent to 85.05 billion units compared with 110.11 billion units in the same month a year ago. The residential power consumption has also not peaked to its previous highs as the summer is a little mild due to nonseasonal rains.
Nearly 10,000 people continue to work in all these plants and networks including 8,000 contract workforce.
"Our ongoing projects have taken a break due to the lockdown except those, which are extremely critical and require immediate intervention," said Sinha. The company expects these projects to start after the lockdown is lifted. But the speed of execution could be adversely impacted.
Sinha said that the company's capital expenditure plans for the current financial year remain unchanged as of now. "However, we will revisit them, as the situation evolves. We will have to carry out our sustenance capex to continue maintaining and operating our assets efficiently," he added.
In the long term, Tata Power will continue to invest in the growth areas, such as renewable projects across the country. "We will look at growth in the transmission and distribution sector and new businesses to create value for our stakeholders," Sinha said.
Tata Power will also remain committed to investing in renewable energy both as a long-term business strategy and to address the long term demand for a sustainable source of clean energy, Sinha said.