National Transmission & Despatch Company (NTDC)’s failure to lay transmission lines to evacuate electricity from Thar coal-based power plants has come under fire again, with concerns that this could burden consumers with a cost of up to Rs80 billion.
Despite the reduction in electricity rates for February 2023, on account of fuel adjustment charges, consumers of power distribution companies (Discos) may still face higher tariffs if previous adjustments of Rs6.3 billion due to system constraints are allowed. The tariff could increase by Rs0.85 per unit if such adjustments are allowed.
During a public hearing conducted by the National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (NEPRA), NTDC requested an adjustment of Rs6.7 billion due to the failure of evacuating power from Thar coal-based power plants. This was met with serious concerns from NEPRA, which questioned why NTDC had not made proper planning and due diligence to lay the transmission lines, taking into account the timelines of Thar coal-based power plants.
The hearing revealed that electricity demand would increase during the summer, and the country would require higher electricity generation. NTDC officials said that two transmission lines were already in place to evacuate 1400 MW electricity, with two more lines expected to become operational in April to evacuate 2400 MW electricity from Thar coal-based plants.
NEPRA conducted a public hearing regarding the February monthly fuel charges adjustment of DISCOs, presided over by Nepra Chairman Taseef H Farooqui, and attended by other NEPRA members. CPPAG had submitted a request for an increase of 85 paisa per unit on account of fuel adjustment for the month of February 2023.
According to NEPRA, the reduction amounts to 0.0006 per unit based on a preliminary analysis of the data. However, the hike could go up to 85 paisa per unit if NTDC is able to satisfy the authority on the adjustment. The hike will be applicable for one month only and will apply to all customers of DISCOs except lifeline and electric vehicle charging stations. It will also not apply to K-Electric (KE) consumers. The authority will issue its detailed decision after further scrutiny of the data.
In the case of KE’s petition for fuel cost charge adjustment for February, a public hearing was also conducted at the Nepra headquarters. KE had submitted a request for an increase of Rs1.66 per unit under Fuel cost adjustment (FCA). According to Nepra’s data, the increase in FCA for February is from Rs0.56 to Rs1.7 per unit. The final figure will be notified later. It will be applicable for one month only and will apply to all KE customers except lifeline and electric vehicle charging stations. The authority will issue its detailed decision after further scrutiny of the data.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 31st, 2023.
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