After months of rumors and intense pressure from various government and private sectors, the National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (NEPRA) has decided against altering the prices of the electricity DISCOs purchased from net metering customers.
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The regulator made the decision not to alter the 2015 NEPRA (Alternative & Renewable Energy) Distributed Generation and Net Metering Regulation after considering the written and oral stakeholder comments opposing the downgrade.
It “realizes” that net metering unit currently makes up less than 1% of the total energy purchased by DISCOs, which is not much.
According to NEPRA, net metering has significant financial benefits in terms of replacing more expensive electricity, saving money on exchange rates, and eradicating grid inefficiencies.
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The Authority appeared determined to lower the rate of Rs. 19.32 per unit and replace it with the National Energy Purchase Price (NAEPP), which is Rs. 9, in order to raise the sale price of net metering electricity just barely above the cost of Solar Panel Calculator projects. Thus, adopting this fresh perspective on things is unexpected.
Remember that the NAEPP was added to Sub-Regulation 5 of Regulation 14 of the Regulations and that NEPRA started the process of amending the NEPRA (Alternative & Renewable Energy) Distributed Generation and Net Metering Regulations, 2015, almost five months ago.
The proposed amendment was made public for 30 days in newspapers to gauge public opinion. The Authority decided to hold a public hearing on the subject on September 27, 2022, in response to strong comments received from various stakeholders and media reports. Newspapers and the NEPRA website both at the time had notices of a public hearing.
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At the hearing, the general public and consumers fiercely opposed the proposed amendments, pointing out that net metering is one of the most efficient methods, incurring little in the way of distribution losses and requiring little in the way of investment in distribution infrastructure, and that the proposed change to the Regulations would discourage net metering and solar installation.
Although the Authority initially gave off the impression that it would be confident at the hearing to lower the rates for solar electricity purchased by DISCOs from Green Meter holders, after months of deliberation, it has given in to pressure from senior government officials and private sector investors.