The National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (Nepra) on Wednesday grilled the Central Power Purchasing Agency-Guarantee (CPPA-G) for expensive electricity generation while ignoring cheaper, local coal-based production, which put an additional burden on consumers.

At a public hearing, the CPPA-G sought an increase of Rs0.5471 per kilowatt hour (kWh) in electricity price on account of fuel charges adjustment (FCA) for September 2023.

It was noted that electricity generation through local coal remained at a lower level, which concerned the power-sector regulator.

“Local coal-based electricity generation is low, why electricity was not produced with the help of cheap coal,” a Nepra member asked.

The regulator observed that power plants running on expensive fuel were preferred whereas the plants generating cheap electricity were ignored.

Nepra officials noted an additional burden of Rs274.26 million due to system malfunctioning in September. It was further informed that there was a financial impact of Rs13.64 million due to under-utilisation of efficient power plants.

Earlier, the CPPA-G filed an application, seeking tariff increase by Rs0.5471 per kWh. The CPPA-G, on behalf of power distribution companies (DISCOs) except for K-Electric, asked Nepra to approve the tariff hike on account of FCA for September 2023.

It submitted that 13,339 gigawatt hours (GWh) of electricity was generated with various fuels in September at a price of Rs7.417 per unit. The total cost of energy was calculated at Rs98,938 million.

Hydroelectric power generation stood at 5,009 GWh constituting 37.55% of total production while local and imported coal-fired plants generated 2,123 GWh at a price of Rs23.4119 per unit and having a share of 15.91%.

Power generation through residual fuel oil came in at 241 GWh, or 1.8% of total production, at Rs37.0491 per unit.

Similarly, the gas-based plants produced 1,005 GWh, accounting for 7.54% of total generation, at Rs13.5206 per unit. Power generation with the help of re-gasified liquefied natural gas (RLNG) stood at 2,128 GWh, constituting 15.95% of total generation, at Rs24.1876 per unit.

Power production from bagasse was recorded at 35 GWh, which cost Rs5.9822 per unit. Wind energy production was 410 GWh, or 3.08% of total generation, and solar power production was 79 GWh, or 0.59%.

Moreover, electricity generation from nuclear sources stood at 2,286 GWh, which constituted 17.14% of total generation, at a price of Rs1.1975 per unit. From Iran, 24 GWh of electricity was imported, which cost Rs23.7976 per unit and had 0.18% share in total generation.

The CPPA-G informed Nepra that a net 12,922 GWh (96.88%) of electricity was delivered to DISCOs in September at a price of Rs7.6182 per unit. Total price came in at Rs98,443 million.

In the month, the reference price of electricity was Rs7.0711 per unit whereas the actual cost was calculated at Rs7.8182 per unit.

Published in The Express Tribune, November 2nd, 2023.

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