ISLAMABAD: “To increase utilization of the idle generation capacity, the government can offer incentives to industrial and commercial consumers, which would help propel economic activity in the country,” stated Rafique Ahmed Shaikh, Member National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (NEPRA) while speaking at ‘Lecture Series’ discourse organized under the theme “Dynamics and dimension of setting up Electricity/Power Tariff in Pakistan” by National Tariff Commission (NTC) on 16th January 2024 at Islamabad.

“Cross subsidization of the residential consumers by burdening the industrial/commercial sector has resulted in higher industrial and commercial tariffs in the country. Currently, the per unit price of electricity in Pakistan for Industrial consumers ranges from 11.93 – 14.31 cents/kWh, whereas, the industrial tariff in neighboring countries of India (7.09 – 7.46 cents/kWh), Bangladesh (8.17 – 10.91 cents/kWh), Sri Lanka (5.74 – 11.79 cents/kWh) and Afghanistan (7.94 – 14.70 cents/kWh) are much lesser. Commercial tariff in these countries is also lower than Pakistan,” stated Member NEPRA.

He further urged upon the need to devise policies for increased utilization of electricity by industrial and commercial users instead of domestic utilization, which would not only generate economic activity but also increase utilization of idle generation capacity.

He also suggested that the Government provide an enabling environment for optimal utilization of indigenous resources of Solar, Wind, Bagasse, Hydel and Thar Coal to reduce the fuel import bill.

He also recommended for abolishment of peak/off-peak rates and the provision of packages to encourage incremental consumption, especially, during the low-demand period of winter. He also emphasized revisiting the policy of cross-subsidization and allowing the private sector to become electricity suppliers through efficient and smart investment under the Competitive Trading Bilateral Contracts Market (CTBCM) model. He was of the considered opinion that all these initiatives could result in a well-managed\ and efficient system for electricity utilization at competitive prices.

Before that Chairman NTC Naeem Anwar while welcoming the guest speaker told that NTC has initiated “Lecture Series’ as an intellectual debate discourse with the overarching objective of revisiting the economic landscape of Pakistan and is arranged on monthly basis to enhance knowledge base of NTC technical team followed by a publication for benefit of the stakeholders.

The lecture was also attended by Members NTC Muhammad Iqbal Tabish, Imran Zia and Ahmad Sheraz in addition to DG, Directors and technical wing of Tariff Policy Centre.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2024

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