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LAHORE: The zero-rated sector sought an increase in grid ceiling from 5MW to 6.5 MW for B3 Industrial Consumers as it would help boosting up exports, augmenting foreign exchange earnings and creating additional employment opportunities, said Power Division sources.

They said the request for increase in grid ceiling has been made in the backdrop of Jan 21 decision of Cabinet Committee on Energy (CCOE) to discontinue gas supply to the Captive Power Plants from 01.02.2021 to non-export industry from 15.03.2021 to the export industry and finally the industry having co-generation facility. The whole process is likely to be completed by December 2022.

Meanwhile, a notification dated 01-02-2022 from Power Division, a copy available with Business Recorder, has directed the Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) of the distribution companies (DISCOs) to continue supply to CPPs during the period of closure of gas supply in accordance with the CCOE decision. If required, the notification added, the DISCOs would ensure timely arrangements to supply the requisite power to the captive power consumers and also to those requiring enhancement in the sanctioned load by revising the sanctioned load and infrastructure immediately under rules and as per the CCOE enclosed decision with full facilitation. Also, DISCOs would proactively coordinate with National Power Construction Corporation (NPCC) to arrange for the demand enhanced demand. The DISCOs and NPCC would chalk out the contingency plan in this regard in case of sudden increase in demand of the respective DISCOs, besides ensuring smooth supply of electricity.

When contacted, Aamir Sh, a leading exporter, said although the Power Division has tried to cover the supply issues of the sector through this notification, however, the present capping of 5 MW for B3 industrial consumers and requirement for separate grid connection for load beyond 5 MW is obstructing further investment. Even meagre additional load of 500 kW to 1 MW entails heavy investment and financial cost, he added.

According to him, such initiatives are frustrated due to enormous investments involved in getting additional load. Pecuniary constraints not only stall production capacity enhancement but also discourage the industry to switch over from gas to grid based electricity.

It may be noted that the government has undertaken a series of measures to upsurge exports of the country. These initiatives have largely contributed in uplifting exports of textile products by about 23% in December 2020 as compared to the corresponding period of the preceding year. Many industries are currently undertaking new investment initiatives by expanding their existing capacities, reviving of the closed units and setting up of new plants.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021