Electricity consumption in Delhi not affected much during lockdown | Delhi News

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NEW DELHI: The Covid-19-induced lockdown had brought economic activities to a near halt, but overall electricity demand in Delhi was not affected significantly beyond the first lockdown period, says an analysis of the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) on power consumption in the capital during lockdown and unlock phases.
The analysis, covering the city’s electricity demand till the second unlock period (July 31), says the consumption recovered quickly to almost near-normal levels and it was only 10-12 % lower during the unlock period than the corresponding period in 2019.
It found that the lowest demand (1,748 MW) during lockdown phases was recorded on March 29 – just before the onset of high summer. The city’s average daily mean electricity demand rose from 1,946 MW during lockdown 1.0 to nearly 3,812 MW during lockdown 4.0 by the end of May — nearly doubled within the lockdown phases.
Attributing the bullish consumption trend to “heat stress and cooling demand in the residential sector”, the CSE flagged in its report how higher heat stresses this summer combined with thermal discomfort in “poorly designed” buildings increased dependence on air conditioning and upset the energy budget despite lower economic activities.
“The learning from the lockdown phases challenge the current approaches that predominantly focus on energy efficient cooling systems and do not pay adequate attention to the architectural design and material, and heat management strategies to reduce the overall thermal load on buildings and the city,” said Anumita Roychowdhury, executive director, CSE and one of the authors of the report.
One would have expected that the overall peak electricity demand during this season would remain much lower than the peak demand of the previous summers. “But it is interesting to note that the daily average demand hovered around 4,000 MW during most of the unlock phases with limited reopening. The season’s highest average (5,287 MW) and peak (6,305 MW) were recorded on July 3,” says the report noting that the peak level recorded during this summer was just about 10% lower than 2019’s high.
The CSE’s analysis report – Power and The Pandemic – factored in electricity demand and its correlation with weather data during the successive stages of lockdown and unlock phases in the city and also analysed daytime and night peak demands till July 31.
Referring to those peak demands, it noted that the ‘work from home’ has not impacted the daytime residential electricity consumption to that extent. “Air conditioning for work at home should ideally have overtaken or at least be equal to the night peak. But data indicates that people did not turn on their AC during the daytime as much as they did during night,” says the report.
The CSE in its report suggests multiple ways to reduce electricity consumption in the residential sector. It recommends an immediate strategy at policy levels to develop and operationalise thermal comfort standards mandated by the India Cooling Action Plan to make thermally comfortable and well-ventilated buildings for all income classes.



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