To meet some of the shortfall, India has been forced to import expensive coal from abroad, but it is politically unable to pass those higher costs on to consumers, bankrupting the sector still further.
Losses in electricity transmission and distribution are also among the world’s highest, 24 to 40 percent, because of inefficiencies and theft.
A constraint to growth
Indian economic growth has slowed to around 6 percent, while inflation is in double digits. That is a sign, Chinoy said, that investment by the public and private sectors has not kept up with the country’s consumption-led boom of recent years, inhibiting the economy’s ability to sustain rapid growth without pushing up prices.
“The biggest constraint to India’s growth potential is lack of capacity,” he said, “and the biggest single constraint to growth is the lack of available and adequate power supply.”
Earlier Tuesday, a senior power official in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh, Avinash Awasthi, was transferred for failing to prevent Monday’s blackout. But officials found no obvious scapegoat for the second day’s failure.