KARACHI:

The electricity generation increased 24% year-on-year to 12,960 gigawatt-hours (GWh) in April 2022 but the growth in production came at a high cost as the fuel cost component in tariff rose 84% to Rs10.24 per unit.

The country got the largest production from imported gas (liquefied natural gas – LNG) fired power plants at 2,517 GWh in April. It was, however, 2% lower compared to the same month of last year, a research house reported quoting data of the National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (Nepra).

LNG has become a costly fuel after its price spiked in the global spot market.

The second highest electricity production at 2,404 GWh came from hydel plants, which was 6% lower compared to the same month of last year. Hydel remains the cheapest source of power production.

Production from nuclear power plants increased more than double on a year-on-year basis to 2,251 GWh in the month under review. Nuclear plants are one of the cheapest sources of electricity generation.

Production from expensive coal-fired plants dropped 11% to 2,169 GWh in April.

The government also opted for electricity production from the expensive source – furnace oil – to meet growing demand for electricity.

The generation from furnace oil-based plants spiked 960% to 1,564 GWh in the month under review compared to a mere 148 GWh in the corresponding month of previous year.

The fuel cost component in power generation shot up due to the spike in coal, LNG and furnace oil prices in both global and domestic markets.

The cost of furnace oil-fired power production rose 135% to Rs28.19 per unit (kilowatt-hour) in April compared to the same month of last year.

The cost of production from RLNG-based plants increased 66% to Rs16.43 per unit. The cost of production from coal-fired power plants surged 79% to Rs14.34 per unit.

Production from other sources including nuclear, local gas, bagasse and power imports from Iran remained in the range of Rs1-17.63 per unit.

Published in The Express Tribune, May 22nd, 2022.

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