NET MARKETING IN PAKISTAN

What is Net Metering?

In today’s modernised era of technology, the use of net metering has increased over the past few years. Net metering is a concept from the solar world. It can be described as an electricity policy, which allows individuals who own or plan to set up a renewable energy (RE) facility, from which they produce energy through the forces of wind and solar power. This energy can then be used for their personal use as well as being supplied to the national grid at times when the production of electricity from the government based RE facilities is not enough to meet the demands of consumers. Depending on the contract and with relevance to the distribution company (DISCO), the consumers who own these renewable energy firms, can either be paid for the excess energy they provide to RE facilities or they may receive reduced utility bills,

Renewable energy is an abiding solution to the world’s energy crisis. The use of solar technology gives way to a much more affordable electricity supply for commercial as well as residential customers.

 

NET METERING IN PAKISTAN:

For many years, Pakistan has been facing an energy crisis, due to the widened gap between the demand and supply in the industry. The country’s generation resources have not been able to keep up with the current energy demand, which has lead to Pakistan facing a shortage of energy of up to 4000MW, which in turn has resulted in issues such as power blackouts and load-shedding. Due to these problems, the government of Pakistan has taken the initiative to promote investment in small scale renewable energy businesses such as solar panels,, through the Alternative Energy Development Board(AEDB), based on the concept of net metering.

 

In September 2015 NEPRA (National Electric Power Regulatory Authority of Pakistan), through its net-metering regulations allowed distribution companies in Pakistan the right to acquire excessive units of renewable energy produced by consumers and merge them against the consumed units of the national grid. NEPRA announced a policy known as ‘National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (Alternative & Renewable Energy) Distribution Generation and Net Metering Regulations’. These regulations allowed any national grid consumer having a three-phase connection to be able to secure net-metering provisions for small scale RE installation.

 

HOW TO APPLY NET METERING:

The following stages are the steps involved in producing a net-metering application as per NEPRA’s regulations. These are the steps that need to be followed in order to gain a license for the distribution of renewable energy:

  • Solar system installation: The first stage of net metering is to get a solar system installed from Aquaturk (AT) solar energies. The AT solar company helps to cater to all sectors including domestic, industrial and commercial sectors who feel the need to use net metering.
  • Submission of application: The applicant is then expected to submit the application along with any other necessary documentation to the office of the distribution company. The applicant must meet all the requirements as per NEPRA regulations.
  • Acknowledgement: The distribution company will then study the application to check if the application is complete and will then inform the applicant within five working days of receiving the application. In the case of incomplete documentation, the DISCO will inform the applicant via writing after which the applicant will have to submit the missing documentation, within seven working days of being informed.
  • Initial review: After the completion of the application, the distribution company performs an initial review over a period of twenty working days, in order to determine whether or not the applicant is eligible for the generation license.
  • Technical feasibility in initial review: If in any case, the initial review proves that the applicant is not feasible for the generation license, then the DISCO will inform the applicant of the reason and return the application within three working days after the completion of the initial review.
  • Agreement: If the distribution company is satisfied with the application then the applicant can now qualify to enter into an agreement with the DISCO. This agreement is issued after ten days of the initial review.
  • Generation license: Within seven days of signing the agreement, a copy of the agreement will then be sent to NEPRA along with the issuance of the generation license.
  • Connection charge estimate: Right after the agreement has been approved by NEPRA, if the distribution company feels the need for a modification of the network, then the applicant will be sent a connection charge estimate (CCE). This CCE will include suggested interconnection facilities that the applicant may not have, such as meter installation. However, in cases where no modification is needed, no CCE will be sent.
  • Payment of CCE: The DISCO will send the applicant the mode of payment, on which the applicant must deposit the amount in the respected bank and then notify the distribution company in writing. This step must be done within 20 days of the issuance.
  • Installation of interconnection facility: After the payments have been made and NEPRA has confirmed the generation license, the distribution company will then install the interconnection facility. This installation stage will take place within thirty days of the payment.
  • Fee: The applicant is responsible for all expenses related to the net-metering facility which also includes meter installation. Apart from these costs, the applicant is also responsible for any costs incurred by the distribution company, which may include operation and maintenance costs of the facility as well as the distribution system improvements. The applicant must also pay NEPRA a fee for the issuance of the generation license, which is paid according to the size of the interconnection facility as shown below:

 

Size of facility:           Fee to be paid by the applicant:

0-20 KW                                Free of cost

20-50 KW                             Rs.500/-

50-100 KW                           Rs.1000/-

100-1000 KW                      Rs.5000/-

 

Advantages of net metering:

Being able to produce your own electricity is a win in itself but also being able to earn from it is an even bigger win. The following point elaborates on the advantages of net metering:

  • Lowers electricity bills: Net metering reduces utility bills for customers, as they now produce their own electricity which allows them to reduce the use of electricity from the national grid or distribution companies. Customers are not just able to produce their own electricity but they are also able to gain credit and revenue for the extra units they generate.
  • Eliminates the need for batteries and generators: Net metering eliminates the need to invest in backup generators and batteries. Unlike off the grid systems, net metering stores the extra energy in the utility grid itself. Solar panels are very low maintenance and they do not require batteries and generators, unlike normal PV systems. Hence, through net metering, these costs can be eliminated.
  • Less load on distribution and national grid companies: Net metering allows customers to not only create their own energy but also provide the extra energy to the national grid which lowers the load on national companies.
  • Energy can be generated at all times and can be stored: With the use of net metering energy can be produced at all times of the day. Apart from this energy that is not used for instance, in one month can be used in the next month as net metering allows energy to be stored, hence it can also be used at night even if it is produced through solar power. This can also benefit those countries that have little to no sunlight in winter. For example, Northern European countries tend to have less sunlight and daylight hours during the winter season, hence energy can be stored in summer and be used in winter in such countries.
  • More environmental-friendly: Net metering is considered to be more environmental friendly as it helps preserve natural energy resources and encourages customers to turn towards more renewable ways of living in a much more cost-effective way.

 

Solar energy and its cost in Pakistan:

Renewable energy has become a huge requirement in today’s day and age, due to the constant change in the climate. It can be defined as any source of energy that can be used without depletion and can be renewed through natural sources such as wind and solar energy. Due to the growing awareness of clean energy, solar energy systems are becoming more and more popular in Pakistan. Solar energy has become the most renewable source of energy, as it allows more energy to be produced on a daily basis, sometimes more than is required at both commercial and residential levels. It not only allows energy that has no threat to the environment to be produced but also allows customers to earn revenue by selling extra units of energy to the national grid

In the initial stage, installing a net metering system may work out to be more expensive than the use of a traditional system. For residential purchases it can cost up to Rs18.64/- per unit, for commercial purchases, it’s Rs22.2/- and for industrial purchases Rs11.3/-, as per net metering policy and Wapda unit prices in Pakistan. However, in a period of three years, the solar energy system would be able to generate a surplus of energy which would then be used against the consumer’s consumption of electricity which would further help produce a return on their investment. This can be seen as an advantage, considering the rising prices of electricity and the decreasing prices in solar energy systems over the past few years

 

AQUATURK SOLAR ENERGIES:

Aquapark (AT) solar energy is a Pakistani based company, which is considered to be one of the best facilities that provide energy-based solutions to its clients. They specialise in solar-based services such as solar power kits, water pumping services for solar, off-grid, on-grid, hybrid and above all net metering facilities. AT provides all the needed steps needed for the net metering such as site surveys and quotations, installation and commission, planning and execution and lastly maintenance services. AT is affordable and works towards producing clean energy that doesn’t harm the environment and at the same time saves customers a ton on their utility bills.

 

CONCLUSION:

In today’s growing digital age, the knowledge and awareness about renewable energy have increased rapidly. Many countries have made adaption to renewable energy, the first-hand source of power generation, a norm as well as a major part of their lives. However, over the years there has been an increase in the demand for energy which has led many countries to face an energy crisis, this includes Pakistan. Pakistan has a lot of scope and potential for solar energy, however, it lacks in the promotion of solar energy on an individual level. This is where the net metering mechanism steps in as it is considered the most eye-catching method to promote solar energy systems.

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