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ISLAMABAD: National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (Nepra) on Thursday expressed its surprise over 12-hour forced load shedding in the country when the government claims that currently 40,000 MW installed capacity is available.

The regulator shared these observations at a public hearing on a request of Central Power Purchasing Agency – Guaranteed (CPPA-G) in which the latter sought an increase of Discos tariffs by Rs 4.9441 per unit for February 2022 under monthly Fuel Charges Adjustment (FCA) mechanism. Nepra, however, has agreed to approve Rs 4.6880 per unit after deducting Rs 0.25 per unit on different accounts.

The Authority, comprising Chairman Nepra, Tauseef H Farooqi, Member Sindh, Rafique Ahmad Shaikh and Member KP, Anwar Maqsood Khan officiated the hearing.

According to information available with Business Recorder on Thursday at 1 pm Discos were facing shortfall of 4068 MW of which Pesco accounted for 53 MW, Iesco 395 MW, Gepco 710 MW, Lesco 1120 MW, Fesco 771 MW, Mepco 774 MW, Sepco 50 MW and Hesco 195 MW. The shortfall of 4068 MW is in addition to revenue based loadshedding.

Prime Minister Imran Khan announced a reduction in electricity rates by Rs 5 per unit as part of his 28 February relief package to be effective till June 30, 2022. This implies that the impact of Rs 5.95 per unit FCA in January 2022 will be replaced with Rs 4.6880 per unit in February 2022. The FCA approved for February will not have any impact on consumers’ bills.

On a question regarding load shedding of 12 hours across the country, chairman Nepra stated that 2,139 MW of electricity was out of the system due to fuel shortage whereas 3,233 MW electricity was out from the system owing to faults in K-2, K-3, Chashma Nuclear Power Plant-1 and Port Qasim which implies that total 5, 372 MW was not available in the system. However, chairman Nepra expressed his surprise at load shedding in the country when the country has an installed capacity of 40,000 MW of electricity.

“When we have surplus electricity and we repeatedly say that our installed capacity is 40,000 MW whereas our peak demand was around 22,700 MW last year. If some plants of 5000 to 7000 MW capacity down, even then we should have sufficient electricity to avert load shedding”, said chairman Nepra.

In reply to a question regarding fuel situation in the country, officials of National Power Control Centre (NPCC) said that IPPs have fuel stocks of one month whereas the government has promised supply of 600 MMCFD against demand of 800 MMCFD during the first two weeks of April 2022 while in the last 10-15 days of April RLNG supply was 480 MMCFD against demand of 800 MW.

NPCC officials maintained that they have to run furnace oil-fired plants due to less availability of RLNG whereas generation from coal-fired plants is not as per demand.

In reply to a question asked by Chairman Nepra, NPCC official confirmed that fuel stocks are sufficient these days but furnace oil-based plants are also heading towards an unaffordable position due to non-payment of their overdue receivables.

Chairman Nepra remarked that since situation is going to be fluid in the days to come due to shortage of RLNG, fuel situation should be shared with the regulator twice a week. It was also noted that power plants are making claims of stocks of 15 days but they have yet to confirm it in writing. During the hearing, NPCC officials also shared concerns about non-availability of coal-fired power plants as the plants are not receiving funds from the CPPA-G to purchase coal.

Meanwhile Nepra has issued notification of Rs 3.2780 per unit increase in tariff of K-Electric under monthly FCA mechanism for January 2022 to be recovered in the bills of April 2022.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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