Many Lesco consumers want to be producers

Published September 28, 2021
The number of applicants seeking solar power net metering connections continues rising, as the Lahore Electric Supply Company has so far commissioned/installed 3,418 connections in Punjab capital and adjoining districts. — AFP/File
The number of applicants seeking solar power net metering connections continues rising, as the Lahore Electric Supply Company has so far commissioned/installed 3,418 connections in Punjab capital and adjoining districts. — AFP/File

LAHORE: The number of applicants seeking solar power net metering connections continues rising, as the Lahore Electric Supply Company (Lesco) has so far commissioned/installed 3,418 connections in Punjab capital and adjoining districts.

“As the people are keen on net metering, we hope to have contribution of about 100MW in the national grid from Lesco alone - the country’s biggest power distribution company in terms of consumption and load - by the end of next month,” an official source in the company told Dawn on Monday.

The solar net metering allows any of domestic, commercial or industrial consumers having a three-phase meter connection to be part of the power generation system by installing it on his/her premises (house, shop, factory, open spaces, etc). Under the arrangements, such a consumer may sell the additional energy to the respective power distribution company and make stocktaking (calculations) with it at the end of the month.

Disco expects 100MW contribution as it has installed 3,418 solar net metering connections by Aug 31

Since the system allows the consumers to generate electricity from one Kilowatt to one Megawatt, the National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (Nepra) issues licences to the applicants residing in the service area jurisdiction of all distribution companies. Before issuance of the licence, the respective companies are supposed to receive, scrutinise and process such applications.

The net metering project had been launched in 2016 countrywide. In the beginning the public response was not encouraging due to lack of awareness and other issues. That is why only 20 generation licences to eligible applicants were issued by December 2016 in Lahore alone.

However, the number of applicants started rising due to increasing use of solar power gradually.

According to an internal report, Lesco, as of Aug 31, received 5,165 applications seeking net metering solar power generation licences from Nepra.

Of 5,165 applications, 3,418 connections were commissioned, whereas 668 applications are under process at Lesco head office and eight were rejected for being ineligible. The cases of 560 applicants were finally sent to Nepra for grant of generation licence after the Lesco cleared them after scrutiny. As of Aug 31, Nepra issued generation licence to 507 applicants. And currently the installation process of 507 approved applications is under way.

According to the official, the cumulative generation requests is over 101,580 KW that is equal to over 101MW. The biggest generation licences of 1,000 KW (1MW) and 998KW (nearly 1MW) have already been commissioned at two industrial units. Another of 667KW has also been commissioned, he said.

“The main reason for the increasing number of applicants is that the people are considering net metering a profitable business, as net metering enables them to not only fulfil their own requirement without any loadshedding but also sell the additional power to the government,” the official said.

RAIDS: Various teams of Pakistan Railways (PR) on Monday raided passenger express trains (Tezgam, Khyber Mail, Business Express, Jafar Express and Musa Pak Express) and caught 135 passengers travelling without ticket. The teams also imposed a fine of Rs127,560 on them, according to a spokesman.

Published in Dawn, September 28th, 2021

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