Nepra to promote power generation by consumers

Published September 4, 2015
The Net Metering Regulations, 2015, would allow consumers having surplus power from their solar panels to sell electricity to distribution companies.—APP/File
The Net Metering Regulations, 2015, would allow consumers having surplus power from their solar panels to sell electricity to distribution companies.—APP/File

ISLAMABAD: The National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (Nepra) approved on Thursday the Net Metering Regulations, 2015, to allow consumers having surplus power from their solar panels or wind systems to sell electricity to distribution companies.

Nepra said the net metering regime would allow customers with a three-phase electricity connection to get monetary benefits by offsetting at least a part of their power bills by generating electricity.

Under the regime, a meter capable of recording power flows in both directions will be used. Such a meter records readings when consumers are drawing power from the utility’s grid (that is, using more energy than they are producing) and also when energy is sent to the grid (that is, using less energy than they are producing).

Also read: Govt to recover all circular debts through consumer tariff

At the end of a given month, the consumer is billed only for the net electricity used. Net metering works only for grid-connected systems and what makes it beneficial is that excess energy sent to the utility will be paid for, at the rate identified in the regulations.

For example, a typical 5-kw On-Grid Solar Power Generation System installed at the consumer’s premises costing around Rs700,000 produces five units of electricity per hour. This adds up to a total of 35 units each day, considering the average daylight of seven hours available for Solar PV panels to operate.

By producing 35 units daily, a consumer can produce 1,050 electricity units every month. Assuming that the consumer is paid at Rs13 per unit, the money that can be made every month will be around Rs13,650.

If there is an average consumption of 600 units per month for domestic use, 450 units can be sold to the utility to provide an approximate benefit of Rs5,850 per month.

For an average consumption of 2,000 units per month, the consumer will only be charged for the extra 950 units consumed and end up saving a healthy amount worth 1,050 units per month.

To avail this facility under the Net Metering Regulations, a consumer will have to submit an application to the local sub-divisional office of the distribution company concerned, providing all relevant information regarding the installed power generation system (solar or wind). This will be followed by technical review of the application by the distribution company and in case of acceptance of the application the consumer and the company will enter into an agreement.

After submission and payment of demand notice for interconnection by the consumer, the distribution company will be responsible for installing and commissioning a system for sale and purchase of electricity under net metering.

Following the successful implementation of the net metering regime, domestic and commercial consumers will be encouraged to set up their own small-scale and grid-connected solar photovoltaic and wind plants.

Although there is an option for wind power generation, Nepra has urged consumers to opt for solar photovoltaic power generation as solar panels are readily available in the market and make maximum use of available space.

Nepra says the step is being taken to boost the renewable energy market in the country and add surplus units to the national grid, contributing towards a reduction in electricity demand and easing the ongoing energy crisis.

Published in Dawn, September 4th, 2015

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