|By Umer Bhatti|
Pakistan Electric Power Company (Pepco) is purchasing one unit (1kWh) of thermal generation for a maximum of Rs38 and a minimum of Rs0.5, and still the Ministry of Water and Power and Pepco itself are going to engage new Rental Power Plants (RPPs) and the Independent Power Producers (IPPs), which will be damaging the consumers’ interests at large.
The News has learnt Pepco is paying the highest price of Rs38 (Energy Purchase Price (EPP), fuel plus variable operation and maintenance cost) to the Kotri Power Plant for generation from its unit 1-2, which is being run by the company on much expensive High Speed Diesel (HSD). On the other hand, the company is paying a minimum of Rs0.5 to UCH power plant, a gas-run IPP, for the purchase of energy up to first 153MW of power generated. The rate of electricity keeps on increasing as the power plant produces more electricity than the above mentioned capacity because the slab of the power purchase increases in the same way as the consumer slabs to pay the electricity bill increases.
It is a well known fact now that the burden of the cost paid to buy one unit of power from thermal power plants, the IPPs and the RPPs is shifted on to the consumers at large as Fuel Adjustment Price in their monthly electricity bills, a fact mostly not known to the public.
It goes without saying here that the thermal power generation, be it from the IPP, the RPP or public thermal unites of Pepco, is much higher than the one unit produced by hydel power, which is Rs1.3. But still it is clearly noticeable that the government hasn’t done anything to tap a huge amount of hydropower potential available in the upstream Indus region.
The cost, paid for buying the power above 153MW from UCH, is Rs10.5.
There are as many as five power units from which Pepco is paying over Rs15 to purchase power. These include NGPS Multan (unit 1-4), SPS Faisalabad (1-2), GTPS Faisalabad (unit 5-9), Kapco (unit B III) and Kotri (unit 3-7) running on Residual Furnace Oil (RFO), for first two and on HSD for the last three, respectively. There are as many as 15 power units from which Pepco is purchasing power for more than Rs10 per kWh. These include Kapco (BII and BI), Muzaffargarh (Unit 5-6), Jamshoro (unit 1and 2-4), Guddu (unit 3-4), Muzaffargarh (unit 1-3 and 4), SPS Faisalabad (unit 1-2), SABA power, NGPS Multan (unit 1-4), AES PAKGEN, AES LALPIR, HUBCO and SEPCOL. Except for the first two mentioned, which are on HSD, all other power plants are running on the RFO.
Moreover, there are as many as 12 power units to which Pepco is giving more than Rs7 for the purchase of one kWh. These include Japan Power, Atlas Power, Kapco (unit BII), which is on RFO, KEL, Attock Gen, Muzaffargarh (unit 5-6), Kapco (BI on RFO), Jamshoro (unit 2-4), Kotri BIV (unit 1-2), Guddu BIII (unit 3-4), Muzaffargarh BI (unit 1-3), and Muzaffargarh BII (unit 4). Some of these are on mixed fuel i.e. either RFO or gas and some are running only on the RFO.
Furthermore, there are 13 such power units from which Pepco is purchasing the energy for more than Rs4 per kWh. These include GTPS Faisalabad (unit 1-4), Liberty Power (above 61MW of power produced), SPS Faisalabad (unit 1-2), NGPS Multan (unit 1-4), Jamshoro (unit 2-4), Muzaffargarh BIII (unit 5-6), Guddu BIV (unit 1-2), GE Rental, AP Rental, Guddu BII (unit 3-4), Muzaffargarh BI and BII (unit 1-3 and 4) and Kotri BIII (unit 3-7). All of these power units are running on gas. Similarly, there are as many as 13 power units from which Pepco is purchasing power for more than Rs2 or 3. All of these are running on gas as well.
So, it is clearly evident from the above-mentioned data that whether it is a publicly run thermal generation plant or the IPP or the RPP, the Energy Purchase Price (EPP) for each unit (kWh) produced is much higher than the one unit produced of hydropower. The only cheap thermal power comes from the coal, which is in abundance indigenously but unfortunately it has not been tapped as yet or even no effort to tap the large resources of coal has been in the pipeline by the government.
But shockingly the government is working hard to get these highly expensive RPPs and IPPs for the solution to energy crisis much for the nuisance of people in the long run in the shape of highly increased tariff.
It is also worth noticeable that a tariff increase of 6pc is already in the pipeline and it would soon be hitting hard consumers, who have no option but to face long hours of load-shedding or to pay huge amounts as electricity bills.