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November 9, 2016

Islamabad consumers feed surplus electricity into national grid 


November 9, 2016

KARACHI: State-owned Islamabad Electric Supply Company (IESCO) has allowed its consumers to transfer surplus renewable electricity into its network, taking a lead among all the distribution companies that have been struggling to implement the net-metering concept in the past one year, an official said on Tuesday.  

In last September, the National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (Nepra) unveiled net-metering regulations, allowing consumers to generate renewable energy, particularly solar power for their own use, and feed the surplus energy into the network of distribution companies.

IESCO initiated this arrangement at various locations in the country’s capital city.  The Nepra has already issued a couple of licences to households for photo voltaic solar-based distributed generation facilities in Islamabad. 

“We have so far received 20 applications and around 100 queries related to net-metering,” the official said. With more than 300 days of sunshine, the country has an enormous rooftop electricity generation potential. Rooftop solar can drastically bring down the power demand and reduce load on the distribution and transmission system.

Inam-ur-Rehman, chief executive officer (CEO) of Reon Energy said the development of alternate energy on micro as well as mass levels needs an encouragement from the government authorities.

“Lahore Electric Supply Company is also considering implementing the net metering,” Rehman said. “K-Electric is reluctant as the power utility does not want to lose sales.”  He said net-metering could add power that could reduce the gap between energy demand and supply and also bring down the electricity cost for consumers.

Power shortfall ramps up to 5,000 megawatts in the country. “It will also decrease the load on the overall transmission and distribution system,” Rehman said. “Each rooftop and open space can act as a solar generator. Pakistan is one of the best countries in the world for rooftop solar – almost 1.5 times better than Germany.”

A consumer, willing to install generation facility for net-metering, will need to acquire a distribution licence from the Nepra.  “It is a cumbersome process, but the Nepra is quite efficient and processing the applications within weeks,” said CEO Reon Energy.

The regulations said the surplus solar electricity produced in a month will be carried forward, as an electricity credit in the electricity bill of the next month and so on. “Finally, at the end of the financial year, the net surplus electricity will be credited to the consumer at an agreed rate,” read the document. The scheme provides an incentive to those who are paying high electricity tariffs, such as high-end residential and commercial consumers to go solar.



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