Apr 302013

ISLAMABAD: The National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (Nepra) has permitted power distribution companies to increase electricity tariff by Rs1.34 per unit in the wake of higher fuel cost in the month of March.

However, the tariff revision will not apply to lifeline consumers using up to 50 units of electricity per month and consumers of Karachi Electric Supply Company (KESC).

The regulator gave approval to the increase in tariff at a public hearing held here on Tuesday that reviewed the petition filed by the Central Power Purchasing Agency (CPPA), calling for an upward revision in tariff to recover the high cost of fuel from the consumers.

The CPPA told the regulator that in March the country relied heavily on expensive high speed diesel and furnace oil for producing electricity because of gas shortage.

It said electricity worth over Rs165 million was wasted as a result of higher transmission and distribution losses in March. Total cost of power generation stood at Rs54.84 billion as 6,190.10 gigawatt hours (GWh) were produced in the month.

According to the petition, the power produced through diesel cost Rs22.18 per unit, RFO Rs16.9 per unit, gas Rs4.83, nuclear Rs1.45, power import from Iran Rs10 and wind Rs0.0044. The petition also said the rate for hydropower came out to Rs0.0782 per unit.

The CPPA sought an increase of Rs1.3764 per unit, citing reference fuel charges of Rs7.7601 per unit.

Nepra Vice Chairman Khawaja Muhammad Naeem and member Habibullah Khilji also aired their concern over supply of 650 megawatts to KESC per day.

Pointing out that the Council of Common Interests (CCI) had given the go-ahead to curtailing power supply to KESC from 650MW to 350MW, they said the decision should be implemented. To this, the regulator was told that KESC had got a stay order from the Sindh High Court against the CCI decision.

Nepra officials then asked the Ministry of Water and Power and National Power Control Centre (NPCC) to file an appeal against the stay order and submit a report in this connection.

While giving a stark assessment, the general manager of NPCC said outages could not be ended even if all power plants got the required gas and oil. The country had a capacity to generate 17,700MW, but currently only 9,000MW were being produced, he said, as demand went beyond 18,000MW in peak summer.

He stressed that the power sector required an average financing of Rs4 billion per day to restrict load-shedding to three hours a day.

Published in The Express Tribune, May 1st, 2013.

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