Nepra’s move to reduce solar net metering rate irks stakeholders

The Nation  |  Sep 28, 2022

 Nepra’s move to reduce solar net metering rate irks stakeholders
ISLAMABAD    -   The stakeholders have rejected the Nepra move to downward revise solar net metering rate to Rs 9 per unit from the existing Rs19.32 per unit, arguing the regulator is not legally authorised to change the tariff during the term of agreement/licence.

The stakeholders further argued that instead of moving against the IPPs which are making Rs 1400 bil­lion as capacity payments annually, Nepra preferred to move against the small net metering distributed gen­erators who are getting a payback of merely Rs 90 million.

The stakeholders and other par­ticipants expressed these views in a public hearing organised by the power regulator on the Nepra’s (Al­ternative & Renewable Energy) Dis­tributed Generation and Net Meter­ing Regulations, 2015.

The hearing was presided over by Nepra Chairman Tauseef H Faroo­qi. Interestingly, there was no rep­resentation from the Power Division or government side in the hearing and Nepra chief was not even ready to listen to the arguments of the par­ticipants. One of the participants, while responding to the chairman’s behaviour said, “Why you have invit­ed us for hearing if you are not ready to listen to us.”

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One stakeholder alleged that Nepra is discouraging the solar net metering customers. “You are forc­ing the consumers to buy expensive electricity from IPPs’ at Rs 32/unit,” he further alleged. Another partic­ipant claimed that the Nepra move would strongly discourage the new entrants in the net metering sector.

However, Nepra chairman, while rejecting the claim said, “we are not discouraging the solar energy as we are adding a renewable capacity of 10,000MWs to the system.”

Nepra officials informed the hear­ing that there are 20,700 net me­tering power generators in Paki­stan and they are getting a return of Rs 90 million for the export of power discos. A distributed genera­tor challenged the Nepra’s jurisdic­tion regarding changing the existing net metering distributor generators power tariff and said that Nepra is not authorised to make amendment to the tariff during the agreement/ licence’s term. He argued that in reg­ulation 14, a sub-regulation (5) was inserted, which reads “The Authori­ty may determine the tariff payable by the distribution company to the distributed generator from time to time; provided, however, the tariff once awarded to a distributed gen­erator shall remain valid for a term of the agreement/licence.”

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However, Nepra chief claimed that he can make amendment to the terms of the IPPs and net metering consumers. Nepra Member Sindh, Rafique Ahmad Shaikh said that there is no mention of tariff fixing in the rules and is only net off of access units. However, member Sindh was contested by an official of Nepra who said that there is mention of tariff.

Nepra chairman further said it is for the netting off of the cost of ac­cess units. “We think that Rs9/unit should be paid for access units,” he said, adding, the remaining Rs10.32/unit should go to the remaining 36 million power consumers who are paying high cost of the electricity

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