Now net-metering

THE government on Wednesday officially launched another consumer-friendly initiative Net-Metering Framework that would enable private operators/generators of electricity to sell their surplus power to the local distribution companies. Speaking at the launching ceremony held at COMSATS in Islamabad, Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi described the move as threshold of providing cheap, efficient, reliable and sustainable electricity to consumers.
The concept is not new as it is in vogue in a number of countries but unfortunately we could not benefit from it due to lack of planning and vision. Not to speak of buying surplus energy from individuals, the successive governments and WAPDA even discouraged and scuttled such prospects. Major/big private entities were already selling surplus energy to the national grid like Parliament House in Islamabad but now the programme would encourage domestic and other consumers to go for their own energy generation plans and the local companies would be bound to buy the surplus. Credit for this surely goes to Minister for Power Awais Ahmad Khan Leghari who took keen interest in addressing ills of the power sector and its modernisation. To encourage consumers, net metering framework has been simplified and now net-metering connections can be acquired in less than one month. However, as pointed out by the Prime Minister, much depends on the practical implementation of the scheme and the Minister will have to devise a proper system of check and balance to ensure that the official machinery does not discourage people and instead facilitates them. This is because if implemented at large scale and throughout the country, it has the potential to address most of the woes of energy sector. People would be willing to make investment on power generation for domestic or commercial use if they are sure that the surplus would be bought by the local company without any complications. Successful implementation would help meet demand-supply gap, government would get additional power without investment and power rates might decrease with the passage of time. We also expect that government would offer incentives both for import of quality solar panels and other related equipment besides encouraging local research and development in the field.

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