Akshaya Jha is an Assistant Professor of Economics and Public Policy, Carnegie Mellon University, Heinz College of Information Systems and Public Policy. Akshaya will be discussing the paper Blackouts: The role of India’s wholesale electricity sector


Electricity blackouts impose substantial economic costs on firms and households. This paper advances a new explanation for their continued prevalence in India, the world’s third-largest power sector.  Using novel data on India’s wholesale electricity sector, we demonstrate that utilities satisfy less electricity demand when wholesale procurement costs are high.  As a result, supply-side misallocation of output across power plants can decrease the quantity of electricity supplied to end-users.  We provide evidence that a substantial share of the supply-side misallocation in India arises from discretionary power plant outages—outages called by suppliers for economic rather than technical reasons.  Reducing supply-side misallocation by returning plants on discretionary outage to service significantly lowers procurement costs, resulting in increases in the quantity of electricity purchased by utilities sufficient to eliminate roughly 70% of reported shortfalls between quantity demanded and supplied.

Please email gri.events@lse.ac.uk  to request the Zoom joining details for this workshop by by 5pm on Tuesday, 8 November 2022.

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