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ISLAMABAD: The National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (Nepra) on Thursday grilled National Transmission and Despatch Company (NTDC) for not completing transmission line to evacuate power from Thar coal power projects on time.

The Authority comprising, Chairman Nepra, Tauseef Farooqi, Member Sindh, Rafique Ahmad Shaikh, Member Balochistan, Mathar Niaz Rana, Member Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Maqsood Anwar Khan and Member Punjab, Amina Ahmed officiated public hearing on requests of CPPA-G and KE in which both entities had sought positive adjustments in their FCAs for the month of February 2023.

The Authority approved positive adjustment of Rs 0.006 per unit in FCA of Discos for February 2023, against request of Rs 0.86 per unit because NTDC inflicted financial loss of Rs 6.385 billion by violating Economic Merit Order (EMO). Nepra’s Monitoring and Enforcement (M&E) section has pointed out following system constraints which became main reason for violation of EMO: (i) Thar transmission line issue- Rs 5.069 billion; (ii)due to RLNG contracts –Rs 468 million; and (iii) due to permanent fault- Rs 808 million.

Tentative date 10th: PM likely to inaugurate two Thar-coal projects

The Authority, however, also decided that it will approve Rs 6.385 billion if NTDC satisfies it in an internal meeting, after a possible positive adjustment of Rs 0.85 per unit. The Authority showed grave concern at the performance of NTDC with respect to its operations due to which billions of rupees’ financial loss is being incurred. The representatives of NTDC failed to provide any concrete reason for delay in Thar transmission line.

During discussion, Member Sindh pointed out that on the one hand the government is establishing new plants in the country but on the other growth in demand was just 5.5 per cent as per IGCEP.

He said, according to an analyses conducted by Nepra, only 500 MW increase in demand has been witnessed during the last ten years. He contended that a time will come when the NTDC would not be able to get electricity due to system constraints despite its availability. He referred to the evidence provided by NTDC according to which NTDC is unable to evacuate electricity from Kanupp-III because of system constraints. He also questioned the need of IGCEP if demand is too low adding that demand will reduce in the next ten years.

On the issue of IGCEP, difference of opinion was witnessed between Chairman and Member Sindh as both viewed IGCEP from a different prospective.

The CEO, CPPA-G informed the Authority there was unpredictable reduction in temperature in March which was the key reason for less demand as compared to corresponding month last year when air conditioners were on in the early days of the month.

“Last year, heat wave was an unusual event and this year low temperature is also an unusual event,” he added. In reply to a question, Chairman Nepra stated that 969 MW Neelum Jhelum Hydropower Project is expected to start generation from July 2023, exactly after one year of being shut down. He said, a meeting has been convened in this regard.

Responding to a question of Member Balochistan, Mathar Niaz Rana, NTDC official noted that 583 kilometers transmission line from Thar to Gwadar has been planned.

K-Electric: The Authority approved positive adjustment of Rs 0.56 to Rs 1.07 per unit per unit for KE consumers for February 2023 under monthly FCA mechanism against KE’s request of Rs 1.102 per unit. The issues related to load shedding and generation in KE also came under discussion.

The KE officials stated that second unit of 900 MW BQPS-III will start Commercial Operation Date (COD) in four weeks. And GoP and KE are signing agreement on 1000 MW electricity to KE from national grid on firm basis.

Tanveer Barry representative from Karachi Chamber said that KE request uploaded on Nepra website is incomplete.

Regarding load shedding he said that last summer Karachi consumers faced severe load shedding even in exempted areas, and expressed the hope that after commissioned BQPS–III, there will no load shedding this summer.

He welcomed CPPA-G, KE Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) saying that this will help reduce energy crises in Karachi. He also requested Chairman Nepra to hold hearing regarding fixed charges as early as possible.

Arif Bilwani, mentioned the letter of Asiapak, the new investor of KE, in which some accusations have been levelled on the management for poor planning. Imran who represents Jamaat-e-Islami also raised questions on revenue-based load shedding which, according to Nepra, is illegal. He also sought details of inquiry being conducted against KE on this issue.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2023


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