(Bloomberg) --

India’s top power producer NTPC Ltd. reported a 5.4% increase in third-quarter profit from a year earlier as rising power demand aided generation.

Profit for the three months ended December rose to 44.8 billion rupees ($550 million), compared with 42.5 billion rupees a year earlier, according to a stock exchange filing on Saturday. The result beat analysts’ estimates of 39.35 billion rupees.  

Revenue rose 37% to 414.1 billion rupees, beating the average estimate of 372.54 billion rupees. Fuel cost jumped to 210 billion rupees from nearly 163 billion rupees in the same quarter last year.

New-Delhi based NTPC benefited from an increase in power demand with the economy gathering speed. The state-owned power producer has an installed generation base of 71.5 gigawatts, according to the company website, accounting for 17% of the country’s installed generation base.

NTPC’s power sales during the quarter rose to 72.9 billion kilowatt hours from 70.4 billion kilowatt hours in the same period last year. The company added 2,256 MW of new capacity during the year to Dec. 30, boosting generation. Its coal-powered plants, which account for the bulk of the generation, operated at an average 68.9% capacity utilization, more than the 67.7% in the year-ago period.

The power producer has all its capacity tied up in long-term power purchase agreements. That allows the company to pass on higher fuel charges to customers — mainly provincial distribution utilities — and recover fixed charges when plants don’t run due to low demand.

NTPC currently runs 90% of its capacity including joint ventures on fossil fuels and plans to reduce that to about half by 2032. The company is planning to build a massive nuclear fleet to aid the nation’s push away from coal and curb emissions, Bloomberg reported last month.

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