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Electricity consumers will pay an additional Rs 4.85 per unit in April bills

Photo: The News/File

ISLAMABAD: The government has allowed electricity distribution companies (DISCOs) to collect additional charges of Rs 4,853 per unit from electricity consumers on next month’s electricity bills.

The National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (Nepra) to this effect issued a notice on Friday, allowing DISCOs to collect Rs 4.68 per unit from consumers on their April 2022 bills, as they paid less than the actual cost of electricity production in February 2022.

It should be noted that the Authority had conducted a public hearing on a petition filed by the Central Power Purchasing Agency (CPPA) on behalf of Discos on March 31, 2022. And this is not a tariff but a additional collection of one month due to an increase in the price of fuel.

This adjustment will not apply to K-Electric and Lifeline consumers. This privatized entity is treated separately. In its latest decision for the utility, Nepra authorized the collection of an additional Rs 3,278/unit from its customers on their electricity bills for April 2022. This fuel charge adjustment for KE was calculated on January 2022 data.

NEPRA Vice President, Rafique Ahmed Shaikh, in his dissenting note included in the ruling, said: “The shortage of RLNG during the month resulted in a financial impact of Rs 1.374 billion as RLNG is an imported fuel and its availability can be assured. through better supply chain management, therefore, such mismanagement of the availability of the required RLNG cannot be passed on to consumers.”

He also identified and expressed his displeasure saying, “The operation of less efficient plants like KAPCO on RFO compared to the most efficient RLNG power plants (QATPL, Bheki) has had a negative impact on the cost of fuel.”

“I also have reservations about buying electricity from all these IPPs, including PPAs [Power Purchase Agreement] have been modified/extended without Authority approval,” Shaikh said.

It should be noted that the CPPA had pleaded that it charged consumers a benchmark rate of Rs4.2516 per unit in February 2022 while the actual cost of fuel was Rs9.1957/unit. Therefore, it should be allowed to increase the rate to Rs4.94 per unit.

According to data provided to Nepra, the most expensive sources of power generation, including high-speed diesel (HSD) and residual fuel oil (RFO), have been consumed more than usual in previous months, which also drove up the total cost of production. On the other hand, the cheapest share (renewable) fell sharply during the month. Interestingly, the share of RLNG-based electricity has also declined.

According to the petition, the total energy generated in February was 8,087 GWh. The share of hydel generation was 18.22% of the electricity pie generated by all energy sources in February. It supplied 1473.76 GWh of electricity to the national grid. The share of coal-based electricity was 31.70% (2,563.87 GWh) with a unit cost of Rs 13.0944/unit.

Oil fired power plants generated 6.51 pc (or 526.73 GWh) with a cost of Rs 21.4564/unit. No electricity was generated from high-speed diesel (HSD) in February.

The RLNG-based power generation was 15.16% (or 1226.01 GWh) and its unit cost was Rs 14.3229. The local gas share was 11.36% (918.40 GWh). Its production cost was Rs8.1826/unit. Nuclear fuel contributed 12.53 pc (1013.26 GWh) at Rs 1.132/unit, wind energy 2.02% (165.07 GWh) and bagasse 1.22% (98.67 GWh) at 5.982 Rs/unit. Electricity imported from Iran contributed 0.42 pc (33.82 GWh) at Rs15.6885/unit. The share of solar energy was 0.72 pc (58.12 GWh).