Net metering still a distant dream in Pakistan

STAFF REPORT ISB: Despite severe energy shortage in the country and the need to have as much decentralised power generation as possible, none of the power distribution companies (DISCOs) across the country has stepped up to offer the net metering facility to its consumers which would enable the customers to help generate their own energy through solar panels.

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This is despite the fact NEPRA regulations were changed in September last year to account for such a system. Net metering allows the consumers to contribute their surplus energy to the national grid.

Experts said this at a roundtable session titled “Net Metering: An Alternate Source of Power for Electricity Consumers” at the Institute of Policy Studies in Islamabad.

Outlining the regulations approved by NEPRA, NEPRA Standard Department Director Mazhar Iqbal Ranjha, said that if subsidies given by the government over fuel prices were rather given on renewable energy technology and devices like solar panels, the energy shortage could have been significantly alleviated as the net metering would allow the consumers to contribute energy back to the national grid.

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IESCO Chief Engineer Planning Wajid Ali Kazmi, however, negated the impression and revealed that IESCO had already developed an SOP for net metering and was set to start implementing this technology at the parliament house as a pilot project with the redistribution capacity of one megawatt through the solar power plant recently installed there.

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Pakistan Engineering Council (PEC) Energy Committee member Faiz Muhammad Bhutta recommended a few amendments in NEPRAs SRO through which the net metering regulations have been approved.

They expressed the hope that the required tactical and resource planning to facilitate this modern approach towards solving the countrys energy crisis would be carried out in a few months.

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