Net Metering – An Impending Source Of Relief For Consumers

Net Metering – an impending source of relief for consumers

ISLAMABAD, (UrduPoint / Pakistan Point News - 17th Dec, 2023) In an era of escalating power prices, selling power to national grid would definitely be a source of relief for consumers as alternate energy systems installed at houses would make them earn money instead of simply being the consumers.

Yes, the Net Metering system that now enables them to sell extra electricity to Power Distribution Companies (DISCOs) generated easily through their solar and wind systems for years, just after one time spending.

Thousands have already converted to this system as power distribution companies are now providing them with this modern facility of selling extra electricity to concerned distribution company.

This novel facility of selling extra electricity has already started functioning with certain companies including K-Electric awarding net-metering connections to purchase surplus electricity.

"Instead of just keep paying as consumers, the clients of power distribution companies are now becoming sellers by selling their extra electricity," said Chief Executive Officer of Islamabad Electric Supply Company (IESCO) Dr. Muhammad Amjad.

He said following successful models of several western and eastern countries, the government ultimately introduced this technology to facilitate power-producing customers.

"Net metering is also an innovative and immediate solution to current power shortage in the country,” Dr Amjad stated and informed that IESCO was country's first power distribution company facilitating both commercial and domestic customers to generate electricity through solar panels and sell their surplus electricity to IESCO.

Net-metering project was launched countrywide in 2016, allowing any domestic, commercial, industrial and other consumers to have at least a three-phase meter connection to avail this facility.

Under the arrangement, such a consumer could sell additional energy to respective power distribution companies and make stocktaking (calculations) with it at the end of a month. Since the system allows the consumers to generate electricity from one kilowatt to one megawatt, NEPRA issues license to applicants seeking generation above 25kW in the service area jurisdiction of all distribution companies.

“We got extremely encouraging response from public. The IESCO has installed 21,218 net metering connections with a total generation capacity of 229.09 megawatts (MW) in its jurisdiction from January 2016 to October 2023,” informed Manager Public Relations IESCO Asim Nazir Raja.

He said the company had received 22,174 applications for net metering connections worth 244.77 MW and so far licenses have been issued to 22,114 consumers with an accumulative capacity of 242.33 MW.

“The import and export of billing units had started from 18,310 net metering connections with a total capacity of 201.09 MW,” he informed. “Total exports and imports from these connections stood at 254,454,591 units and 411,934,674 units respectively.

Asim said the company had paid an amount of Rs 2,995,823 to connections’ holders till March 2023. “IESCO is mandated to issue licenses up to 25 kilowatts (KW) while beyond this capacity, NENPRA issues licenses for net metering connections.”

He informed that all customers having three phase connections can avail this facility through our one window system where customers can register their applications to get free net-metering connection in just three to four weeks.

The Federal government has issued ‘Net Metering Regulations’ to establish flexible regulatory regime where any consumer can install solar panels and sell excess electricity to concerned distribution company by following a short, simple and easy process.

"The system will help bridge power generation gap, also resulting in reduced load-shedding," remarked Chairman National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (NEPRA), Waseem Mukhtar. "It promotes cleaner, renewable and environment friendly power generation and is also a priority of the government."

Any consumer who fulfills requirements can submit application to Distribution Company along with necessary documents and DISCO would acknowledge its receipt and inform whether the application is complete in all respects.

If the Distribution Company is satisfied with consumer’s qualification as Distributed Generator, it will enter into a standard Agreement as approved by the Authority. The Distribution Company would send a copy of Agreement to the Authority within seven days.

This facility has five steps including, Submission of Application by the Consumer, Technical Review of Application by DISCO, Signing of Net Metering Agreement, Payment of Interconnection Charges by the Consumer and Sale/Purchase of Electricity.

“Many countries including USA, Germany, Australia, Brazil, UK, Japan, India, China and Thailand are now generating electricity in bulk through solar system,” said an energy expert Gul Hassan Bhutto.

“Pakistan receives one of the best solar irradiation in the world with a potential to generate over 2.324 million megawatts electricity annually through solar thermal and photovoltaic systems. But, this potential is yet to be tapped," Bhutto said.

Solar irradiation in Pakistan and India stands at 1,900 Kwh/m2 against China's 1,500 and Germany's 1,200 Kwh/m2. China, Germany and India have already installed solar power projects of thousands megawatts capacity.

According to estimates a 5KW system costing around Rs 800,000 to Rs 1,000,000 could generate 600 units per month and if a consumer uses an average 400 units, he can still sell 200 units.

Therefore, it is urgently required to facilitate maximum consumers to install more and more systems for their personal usage as well as help steering country out of power crisis.

APP/raz/maz (APP Feature Service)