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ISLAMABAD: Chairman, National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (Nepra), Tauseef H Farooqi has proposed to the government to optimize the mix of take or pay and take & pay contracts and go for debt restructuring and swapping of expensive debt especially China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) to save the power sector.

He submitted these recommendations titled “challenges of existing generation, transmission and distribution and its way forward” to the team of Power Division headed by Secretary Power Division. Officials of Private Power & Infrastructure Board (PPIB) and Central Power Purchasing Agency –Guaranteed (CPPA-G) were also present during discussion on power sector’s issues.

The issues like circular debt which will hover around Rs 3 trillion by the end of current fiscal year due to delay in tariff decisions by the regulator, constraints in supply of fuel to the power plants, generation cost, transmission and distribution constraints were also discussed during six to seven-hour long brain storming session.

The officials of CPPA-G and PPIB shared their limitations with respect to payment to the IPPs and establishment of new capacity.

Farooqi who had also given a brief presentation to former Prime Minister, Imran Khan, which had irritated the then leadership of the Power Division, argues that the generation mix- should be shifted from imported to indigenous fuel and preference be given to least-cost procurement through IGCEP.

Recovery of dues from CPPA-G: Wapda seeks help of Power Division

He also suggested that there should be optimal capacity utilisation along with fuel supply planning, sourcing and management, adding that RLNG contracts should be renegotiated with Qatar/other countries.

Thar coal price should be determined by a GoP based Authority and indigenous gas of captive plants be disconnected and supply be given them from grid, he advises, adding that mega hydel and run of the river hydro projects should be preferred and CPPA-G should pay to IPPs on time.

He also suggested that solar re-powering should replace expensive GENCOs (Lakhra, Jamshoro, Muzafargarh, Faisalabad, Multan) and tariff notification of 12 RE projects be issued by the government.

Chairman Nepra further maintains that new RE projects must be expedited through Competitive Bidding (Quaid e Azam Solar Park) and focus must be on cost effective new technologies like hybrid projects, wind-solar, floating solar- hydro, batteries, pumped storage hydro.

Off-grid solutions for rural electrification, promotion wheeling for cheaper sale/purchase of electricity, promotion of net metering and distributed energy solutions are also needed to improve the system.

He has also proposed the following: (i) constraints removal; (ii) IGCEP/ Integrated Transmission Plan (TSEP); (iii) project delivery on time & within budget; (iv) SCADA; (v) improved forecasting and planning by NPCC; (vi) enhancement of interconnection capacity between KE and NTDC systems; (vii) activation of Provincial Grid Companies; (viii) countrywide centralized despatch of KE and NTDC systems; (ix) promote Net Metering and distributed energy solutions; (x) privatization of Discos (Public-Private Partnership with provincial contribution); (xi) breaking Discos up into smaller sizes; (xii) AT&C losses to be discontinued- use of modern technology; (xiii) autonomy of Discos; (xiv) customer oriented business approach; (xv) sales growth, reduction in pending connection; (xvi) timely payment of subsidies to Discos; (xvii) recoveries and loss-reduction to be improved; (xvii) outsourcing high loss feeders through supplier regime; (xviii) outsource meter reading and Revenue officer in one division on experiment basis; (xix) over taxation on consumer billing to be reviewed; (xx) AMI, AMR at PMT level should be converted into ABC cable; (xxi) pre-paid meters in Discos be installed; (xxii) industry should operate at night to reduce peak and encourage industries with captives to connect with Grid; (xxiii) seasonal tariff; (xxiv) development of SEZs for increasing demand; (xxv) solarization of tube wells; and (xxvi) demand side management.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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