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Sunday March 03, 2024

Nepra report shines light on power sector developments

The period saw a notable surge in generation licence applications, licence grants, and significant regulatory initiatives

By Our Correspondent
February 03, 2024
A general view of the high voltage lines during a nationwide power outage in Rawalpindi on January 23, 2023. — AFP
A general view of the high voltage lines during a nationwide power outage in Rawalpindi on January 23, 2023. — AFP

ISLAMABAD: The National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (Nepra) said in its annual report that during the fiscal year 2022, it actively oversaw and facilitated numerous developments in country’s energy sector.

The period saw a notable surge in generation licence applications, licence grants, and significant regulatory initiatives.

The report indicates that 24 generation licence applications, with a cumulative capacity of 2,398.96-MW, were in process during the fiscal year. Of those, six were new applications, contributing 21.507-MW to the national grid. Twelve licences were granted, including two microgrid licences, accounting for a total capacity of 1,430.492-MW. Pending applications are currently undergoing processing.

The breakdown of granted licences reveals a diverse portfolio, with four licences granted in the hydel sector, five in solar, one in thermal, and two for microgrids. Notable solar licence recipients include Burj DG (Pvt.) Limited and GSolar Power (Pvt.) Limited. In the hydel sector, licences were granted to Gorkin-Matiltan–PEDO, Balakot–PEDO, KOAK Power Limited, and KA Power Limited. Quaid-e-Azam Solar Power secured two microgrid licences.

Furthermore, eight distribution licences were issued to Distribution Companies (DISCOs), including IESCO, PESCO, GEPCO, LESCO, MEPCO, QESCO, FESCO, and HESCO. Additionally, 10 applications for distribution licences are under process for various projects and economic zones.

Nepra has been reviewing applications for Supplier Licences per Section 23E of the amended Nepra Act. The applications include submissions from DISCOs, power projects, and economic zones. Notable applicants include Rashakai SEZ, Maple Leaf Power Limited, Lucky Energy (Pvt.) Limited, and Nishat Mills Limited.

The report also highlights issuance of 1,596 net-metering licences during the fiscal year, totaling 221.05-MW. Several DISCOs and private entities, including DHA (EME), were granted licences, contributing to the growth of decentralised power generation.

In terms of regulatory amendments, Nepra revoked four generation licences upon licensee request during FY 2022-23.

The Authority also approved high-level and detailed design of the Competitive Trading Bilateral Contract Market (CTBCM). This initiative aims to enhance efficiency of capacity procurement through competitive auctions.

Moreover, Nepra granted the system operator licence to the National Transmission and Dispatch Company (NTDC) in compliance with Section 23G of the Nepra Act. The approval of the Grid Code 2023 and notification of Nepra Licensing (System Operator) Regulations, 2022, were pivotal steps in ensuring efficient system operations.

CPPA-G’s application for registration as a Special Purpose Agent, as part of the CTBCM restructuring, is currently under review. Additionally, Nepra is working on amendments to regulations for generation companies, including the Nepra Generation (Connectivity Standards) Regulations, 2023.

Nepra’s commitment to monitoring and oversight is evident in its efforts to address out-of-merit generation, system constraints, and violations. The Authority also played a crucial role in resolving the delayed construction of the 500-kV Thar-Matiari transmission line, ensuring cost-effective energy access from the Thar Coal project, the report said.

However, challenges persist, with a concerning trend of tower collapses in the transmission network, resulting in power disruptions. In FY 2022-23, 46 towers collapsed, necessitating attention to mitigate safety hazards and economic setbacks.

Nepra’s proactive approach is evident in addressing pending connections in DISCOs through an online portal for systematic data collection. The report emphasised the need for prompt resolution, and legal proceedings have been initiated against DISCOs with significant backlogs.

Tragically, the report also noted 162 fatal incidents in distribution companies, underscoring the importance of ongoing safety measures and vigilance in the sector.