KARACHI: In a significant show of unity, leading industrial chambers and associations came together at a multi-stakeholder conference to advocate for the urgent implementation of the Competitive Trading Bilateral Contract Market (CTBCM) regime.

The proposed regime will allow bulk power consumers to purchase electricity directly from the generators, bypassing the government. The conference was jointly organized by Renewables First (RF) and Pakistan Environment Trust (PET), two of the leading voices in Pakistan’s energy and environment sector.

The conference featured discussions from prominent chambers and associations, including Zubair Motiwala, CEO Trade Development Authority of Pakistan, Tanveer Ahmed Barry, Vice President Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and Johar Ali Qandhari, President, Korangi Association of Trade and Industry and Asif Inaam, Vice President FPCCI & Chairman APTMA. These industry leaders regretted the excess generation capacity in the grid and the costly take-or-pay contracts, questioning the government’s competence to run the electric grid. They also emphasized that Pakistan’s power sector is heading towards disaster and the only hope is to move towards the CTBCM regime.

The event was also attended by Tauseef Farooqui, former Chairman NEPRA, who highlighted that it is not the government’s job to do business. However, under the current system, the government has a monopoly on sale and purchase of electricity. By moving towards the CTBCM regime, businesses and ordinary consumers will be able to procure electricity directly from the suppliers at competitive rates. He also highlighted that the power sector of Pakistan stands in urgent need of reform and the CTBCM regime has the potential to address long-standing issues of the sector.

Furthering the overall sentiment, Asif Inam, Vice President of FPCCI & Chairman of APTMA, emphasized the textile industry’s stake in the success of CTBCM. He argued that for export-oriented industries such as textiles, competitive energy prices are not just desirable – they are essential for survival in the global market.

Faiza Jamil from Pakistan Environment Trust also highlighted that instead of waiting for the government to hold auctions, the CTBCM regime offered a golden opportunity for businesses to procure clean energy directly from developers through bilateral contracts, thereby reducing their Scope 2 emissions and advancing towards the net zero goal.

In this gathering, Renewables First also launched their signature CTBCM Booklet Series. Hammad Ali, the author of the series and researcher at RF, presented an insightful overview of the CTBCM market model for the capacity building of key stakeholders in the electricity sector, as entailed in the CTBCM booklet series.

Omer Haroon Malik, Head Market Operations & Development, at Central Power Purchasing Agency (CPPA-G) endorsed the booklet series and announced its publishing and inclusion in the digital library on the website of Market Operator. The conference concluded with the presentation of a Charter of Demands with endorsements from major industrial associations and chambers.

The charter called on the government to announce a competitive figure for use of system charge, which is essentially the cost of participation in the CTBCM regime. The charter also demanded that the government announce the date of first bilateral transaction to open the electricity market for business.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2024

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