ISLAMABAD: National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (Nepra) on Tuesday reserved determination on K-Electric’s petitions for grant of non-exclusive distribution and supplier licences for the next 20 years with several suggestions including conditional approval for a few years.
The Authority comprising of Chairman Nepra Waseem Mukhtar, Member (Technical) Sindh Rafique Ahmad Shaikh, Member (Tariff and Finance) Mathar Niaz Rana, Member KPK Maqsood Anwar Khan and Member (Law) Amina Ahmed officiated a hearing amid complete calm.
Nepra’s case officer stated that different issues have been framed on the basis of written comments from consumers and on the basis of existing factors.
The issue of load shedding, reliability of figures shared with the Authority, performance of KE’s own obsolete generation plants were highlighted during the hearing.
KE’s proposed distribution and supplier licences will be for its service territory including Karachi, Dhabeji, Gharo in Sindh and Balochistan’s Hub, Bela and Vinder regions.
The hearing was attended by various stakeholders including those representing Karachi’s industries and the general public. KE’s senior leadership including Chief Financial Officer Aamir Ghaziani, Chief Distribution Officer Fawad Gilani, and Chief Marketing and Communications Officer Sadia Dada, represented the company and addressed questions framed by the regulator.
Speaking about the expectations and results of privatization, KE shared that a capital expenditure of around Rs 544 billion ($ 4.4 billion) has been made towards improving the Karachi power supply.
This has resulted in an addition of 1,957-MW of generation capacity and 12 percentage point improvement in fleet efficiency - from 30% in 2005 to 42% in 2023. Since the most efficient 900-MW RLNG plant was commissioned in the last quarter of FY 2023, the fleet efficiency would increase to 49% when the said power plant will operate for the entire year.
KE leadership shared that since privatisation, transmission and distribution system capacity has doubled, while line losses have been reduced by half.
Most of the conversation revolved around the tariff and seeking tariff benefits for industries based in Karachi. Some participants expressed satisfaction with the network and associated services while others suggested improved strategies.
In response to questions about improving reliability of services, the company highlighted that it has invested in IT and tech-based interventions to modernise the infrastructure and improve service delivery.
These include pioneering initiatives such as the use of Geographical Information System (GIS) and deployment of 60,000 smart meters enabling greater visibility over power consumption trends.
“We remain committed to providing customers with the best quality of services. Our Rs 484 billion upcoming investment plan, and proposed addition of over 1,200-MW renewable energy are indicative of this,” said Aamir Ghaziani.
He cited different reasons including higher borrowing cost, less sent out, fuel cost and less recovery due to higher inflation for Rs 40 billion financial losses of power utility company during 2022-23.
Some of the consumers’ representatives including Usman Ali supported both petitions of KE, including load shedding; however, they also suggested KE should not turn off electricity to private hospitals despite the fact they are in high loss areas. They proposed that load shedding should be on PMT instead of shutting down entire feeders.
Another consumer Abubakar Ismail expressed confidence in KE’s net work, saying that he is consumer of KE for the last 30 years and satisfied with its performance.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2023