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Govt announces Pakistan’s first electricity import regulations

March 28, 2017

KARACHI: The National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (Nepra) has unveiled the country’s maiden rules to govern electricity import from foreign countries in view of growing power demand and distribution sector’s interest in transmission from across the border.

The Nepra (Import of Power) Regulations 2017 will provide procedures for the import of electricity into the country, The News learnt on Monday.  The authority has solicited feedback on the regulations from all the stakeholders within one month.

These regulations will apply on import of electricity from foreign countries as well as generation facilities located in Azad Jammu and Kashmir, Gilgit Baltistan and territories where the existing Nepra Act is not applied.

As per the new regulations, a buyer or importer will file an application with the authority for rate determination. On the basis of determined rates, the importer will execute the power purchase agreement with the electricity exporter.

The government has already allowed import of 1,300 megawatts of electricity from central Asian states under the Casa-1,000 power project. The lines will be laid over 1,200-kilometre and electricity will be imported from the beginning of May to the end of September every year, which will ease the electricity deficit in summer when the demand is usually at its peak.

The electricity import is expected to begin from 2019 as the estimated time for laying power transmission lines from the exporting countries to Pakistan is 40 months. Initially, electricity between 1,000MW and 1,300MW will be imported from the Kyrgyz Republic and Tajikistan to Pakistan and Afghanistan.

The major share of the export will be used by Pakistan, and approximately 300MW will be utilised by Afghanistan.Pakistan is keen to develop relationship with the energy-rich central Asian states to overcome power shortages in the country. The country is already importing more than 100-megawatt of electricity from neighbouring Iran.

The government has planned to increase the quantum manifold.The electricity demand continues to outpace the supply and the deficit at times crosses 6,000-megawatt.  An increase in electricity demand is directly linked to the economic growth.

With growth in all the sectors of the economy, it is expected that the demand for electricity will substantially rise in the coming years.The demand for electricity from the industrial sector, given current growth trends, is likely to substantially increase over the next five years.

There has also been a rapid increase in the number of domestic electricity consumers in the past recent years due primarily to rapid urbanisation and also the extension of the national grid to include an increased number of rural areas.

The regulator has also notified draft Review of Power Purchase Agreements Regulations, 2017 and Power Acquisition Programs (Standards & Procedures) Rules, 2017 for soliciting feedbacks within a month.