Government Considers Lowering Tariffs for Solar Net Metering


In response to concerns over excessive fuel cost adjustments burdening consumers, the government hinted at plans to reduce the net metering tariff for rooftop solar power units. This initiative, discussed during a meeting of the Senate Standing Committee on Power, follows previous unsuccessful attempts over a year ago to implement similar measures.

During the session chaired by Senator Azam Nazeer Tarar, Power Secretary Asad Rehman Gilani acknowledged recent fuel cost adjustments as unfair to consumers. He attributed the higher costs to increased insurance and tanker charges due to Middle East tensions, emphasizing the government’s commitment to the automatic adjustment mechanism with the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

While presenting data indicating distribution companies’ requests for substantial increases in fuel cost adjustments for January, both Gilani and caretaker Power Minister Muhammad Ali advocated for revising the net metering tariff. They suggested that owners of rooftop solar power, often affluent urbanites, should bear higher electricity rates compared to smaller consumers living in modest homes.

Currently set at Rs22 per unit, the net metering tariff is under review, with Minister Ali highlighting the country’s surplus generation capacity. Secretary Gilani emphasized the equity aspect, noting that the current setup subsidizes wealthier consumers at the expense of poorer ones.

Additionally, the Senate committee decided to close proceedings related to the award of contracts for the 765 kV transmission line for the Dasu Hydropower Project. This decision, influenced by a change in committee leadership, reflects a belief that the matter has been sufficiently scrutinized by higher authorities and should not be subject to further inquiry.

The contracts in question involved companies such as Sinohydro Corporation and Harbin Electric International for construction and GOPA Intec of Germany for consultancy services. The committee, under its new leadership, aims to streamline proceedings and avoid unnecessary duplication of efforts in matters already examined by relevant authorities.
Story by Khaleeq Kiani

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