Need to focus on hydro generation for cheap power

Shahrukh Syed

Islamabad—The fuel cost for electric power generation from power plants on RLNG has been higher at Rs11.27 per unit in the whole financial year 2015-16 than the cost incurred on electricity generation based on residual furnace oil (RFO) that stood at cost of Rs 10.90 per unit.
That will certainly trigger a new debate if usage of RLNG as fuel for electricity generation is a sane decision particularly when it comes to making the availability of electricity at affordable rates, a senior official of the government told Pakistan Observer.
Pointing to data about power sector outlook for 2015-16, the top functionary said that unnecessary margins of various entities involved in the transportation of LNG to the bulk consumers have caused the surge in the price of RLNG owing to which the electricity power generation cost has increased and will resultantly make the products manufactured by Punjab industry uncompetitive in the international market. And so much so the, there will be no solace to all categories of consumers in terms of the cost of the electricity. “We all know that the basket price of electricity has reduced mainly in the wake of drastic reduction of oil prices I the international market during the ongoing Nawaz era as fuel cost is a pass through item.” On top of that, the cost of electricity being imported from Iran has been at Rs 10.55 per unit also lowered than the RLNG based electric power raising the eyebrows of experts in power sector on the bitter fact that the imported RLNG is not providing the solace to the consumers. However cost of the power generation based on high speed diesel (HSD) has been at the highest level that stood at Rs17.96 per unit. The hydro generation has been the most affordable and economical in the year under review as the hydel cost stood at Rs 2.15 per unit. Surprisingly the coal based electricity cost has also be at higher side that stood at Rs 12.08 per unit. The nuclear power generation cost has also been at Rs6.86 per unit which is very cheap and affordable.
The electricity cost based on local natural gas has also been at Rs 9.07 per unit, on wind Rs16.63 per unit, bagasse Rs11.95 per unit, and solar Rs16.95 per unit.
Experts say that the latest data shows that the direction of the government is not right as its focus to generate electricity is more on generating the electricity based on imported RLNG and coal. The electricity based on the two said fuels will be no more affordable in the years to come.

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