Home Electricity Rs3.33 per unit hike for April notified

Rs3.33 per unit hike for April notified

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ISLAMABAD: The National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (Nepra) on Thursday notified Rs3.33 per unit additional fuel cost against consumption in April to enable ex-Wapda distribution companies (Discos) to raise another Rs29 billion in June as the government confirmed on record a minor impact of solar net metering on electricity sales.

Nepra “has reviewed and assessed a National Average Uniform increase of Rs3.3321/kWh in the applicable tariff for ex-Discos on account of variations in the fuel charges for April 2024”, said an order issued by the regulator.

The net tariff increase due to FCA’s impact would be about Rs6 per unit because of its partial spillover to the quarterly tariff adjustment (QTA) to follow later.

The “adjustment of Rs3.3321/kWh shall apply to all the consumer categories except Electric Vehicle Charging Stations (EVCS) and lifeline consumers. The adjustment will be shown separately in the June bills based on units consumed in April”, said Nepra’s notification.

In its determination, the regulator also placed on record that the Central Power Purchasing Agency (CPPA) had “included 100 GWh (gigawatt hours) for the net metering units procured during April based on information provided by PITC”, which works out to be just 1.15pc of the total 8,640Gwh in the national grid. In March, the CPPA claimed a 54.7 Gwh contribution from solar net metering, accounting for only 0.7 pc of the total grid supply of 7,756 Gwh.

This indicated that the narrative against the homeowners of solar net metering was being pushed to cover up certain other efficiency-related matters in the power network. Consumption in April was almost 14pc lower than the same month last year, mainly because of lower temperatures, changed consumption patterns due to the economic slowdown, and consumers shifting to alternate sources.

Nepra quoted the CEO of CPPA as saying there was lower generation from hydro and local coal than the generation assumed in the reference tariff. He said there was not much variation in actual fuel prices vis-a-vis reference values; however, certain fuels like RLNG were utilised in higher quantities than the reference values because of system requirements and contractual obligations.

CPPA told the public hearing that “orders for procurement of RLNG were already placed due to the anticipated increase in demand in April, and in case of non-utilisation of the ordered quantity, the power sector would have to bear the financial burden”. The financial impact of the high use of RLNG was reported at Rs32bn in April against Rs75bn total fuel cost.

Regarding the low utilisation of Thar coal power plants, CPPA informed that the overall utilisation of these plants remained around 50pc during April, keeping in view the system stability and demand pattern. Regarding the curtailment of Thar-based plants, NTDC responded that due to weather conditions, the demand remained low.

This increase in FCA is on top of about 26pc increase in annual base tariff and another 18pc hike under two quarterly tariff adjustments to be paid by consumers at the rate of Rs4.65 per unit.