New strategy to end power scarcity

March 04, 2014 - 7:42:53 am
ISLAMABAD: The federal government of Pakistan has decided to put in place an up-front transmission tariff regime to enable private entities and provincial governments to set up independent power projects for their own energy needs and to inject surplus electricity into the national grid.

The move would greatly facilitate, particularly the provincial governments, to set up large power plants not only for their own requirements but also to sell surplus electricity to the National Transmission and Dispatch Company (NTDC).

A couple of years ago the Council of Common Interests (CCI) had empowered the provincial governments to set up independent power plants as allowed under the Constitution. But in the absence of an enabling regulatory framework, the private investors were shy of signing power production agreements with the provincial governments.

So despite having legal and constitutional powers and a lot of surplus cash at their disposal following increased shares from the National Finance Commission (NFC), the provincial governments were practically handicapped to add power generation capacity to the national grid even for their own needs.

Now, the federal government has instructed the National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (Nepra) under policy guidelines permissible under the Nepra Act of 1997 to design transmission tariff, commonly known as tolling charges, to enable any entity to evacuate its electricity generation through the national grid at cost, according to documents.