Is the crisis over for power sector?
Not quite, though things are much better than popular perception; supply rates, distribution company reforms, structural issues remain. Has the power sector managed to break free from the many constraints on its growth? Consider that the country is set to witness its second-highest capacity addition in a year, of 17,500 Mw this financial year, after adding 20,500 Mw in 2011-12. For comparison, China has of late been adding around 25,000 Mw annually. Thermal power generation (three-fourths of total power output), has jumped nine per cent to 631 billion units (BUs) in 2012-13, after growing at an average of less than six per cent annually in the earlier Plan period (2007-12). The country’s power deficit has come down to nine per cent from 11 per cent last year, as the coal stock position at a number of thermal power stations has been pulled out of the danger zone. The number of stations running at critical stocks sufficient to sustain operations for less than seven days has been brought down from 44 in February 2012 to 35 now. The industrial output data validates the sectors upward growth trend, pointing to its emergence as one of the economys better performing areas. While overall industrial output increased merely 0.7 per cent, pulled down by a dismal manufacturing growth of 0.7 per cent and shrinking of mining output, the electricity sector grew 4.6 per cent between April and December 2012.