Govt to outsource billing, recovery functions of loss-making Discos

Published October 23, 2020
The federal government has decided in principle the outsourcing of responsibilities of billing and recovery of loss-making grids of distribution companies. — Reuters/File
The federal government has decided in principle the outsourcing of responsibilities of billing and recovery of loss-making grids of distribution companies. — Reuters/File

ISLAMABAD: The federal government has decided in principle the outsourcing of responsibilities of billing and recovery of loss-making grids of distribution companies starting with Peshawar Electric Supply Company (Pesco) and introduction of smart meters in at least three companies.

A cabinet member told Dawn that a plan on outsourcing mechanism would be presented to the federal cabinet within the current month before formal roll out. Pesco’s 39pc transmission and distribution losses are the highest among 10 distribution companies of ex-Wapda. Also, it is among three Discos where such losses have actually gone up during FY20.

The cabinet member said various grids and feeders of Pesco had been categorised as to where pre-paid smart metering would be viable and where billing and its recovery be outsourced to local contractors based on incremental increase in revenue collection. He said it had been noted that there were many areas, particularly in rural areas, where Pesco staff could hardly operate due to security reasons. Such areas would be handed over to local influential on revenue sharing.

This is coinciding with the provincial government’s move to acquire independent transmission licences from the National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (Nepra) to operate its own transmission company.

KP seeks licences to operate its own transmission company

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa is the second province to formally file a petition for its own transmission and despatch company after Sindh which was granted a licence a few months ago.

The KP government has been critical of National Transmission & Despatch Company (NTDC) — a federal entity — for its alleged reluctance to provide transmission facility to its renewable energy sources in mountainous terrain and vast sweeps of barren land where such resources of generation of electric power are located. The consumers in the provinces are also scattered in various localities of mountains and remote villages.

“So far the National Grid has not been able to penetrate into the far-flung area which on one hand has deprived the province from realising its full generation potential and on the other hand deprived the population from access to electricity”, says the GoKP that now intends to aggressively tap its potential of hydroelectric power, solar and wind power renewables as well as indigenously produced gas-based power generation.

The government plans to construct, operate and maintain transmission lines and grid facilities including the construction, operation and maintenance high and extra high voltage transmission lines, transmission facilities, grid systems and the grid stations allied with system operations with dispatch facilities all within KP.

The provincial government has initially identified six corridors in regions of Chitral, Dir, Mansehra, Kohistan, D I Khan and Swat for the transmission of electric power services and provision of the grid related activities to evacuate a total of about 7,320MW generation in 5 to 15 years. These include about 2,946MW from Chitral, 508MW from Dir, 2,054MW from Kohistan, 1,076MW from Swat and 736MW from Mansehra.

This capacity requires a transmission network of 500 kV, 220kV and 132kV rings to connect these HPP projects in the optimal and integrated fashion in a bid to evacuate this power to reach the potential load centres. The transmission company is also looking at supplying about 700MW directly to about 12 special economic zones in various parts of the province.

The evacuation strategy has been divided into three stages and each stage further divided into various phases, which will be planned, designed and executed accordingly and under a priority list contemplated to meet needs and requirements of various stakeholders. The region-wise transmission strategy of power evacuations will be streamlined. The proposed company is expected to provide inter-connection and transmission facilities to special economic zones.

Published in Dawn, October 23rd, 2020

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