ISLAMABAD        -       To boost the electricity consumption in the country during winter season the government has announced low flat tariff for industrial, commercial and residential consumers.

The package of flat electricity rate would be applicable for four months (November-February) and would be available for industrial, residential and commercial consumers, said Federal Minister for Energy Omar Ayub Khan here Friday.

Flanked by Federal Secretary Irfan Ali, the minister announced that this package can be expanded to other months too, once we get its results. The flat tariff would also help the government in reducing the capacity payments that it paying to the power producers of billions of rupees, especially to private sector which would ultimately lessen the burden on the circular debt, as idle capacity would come under use in winter.

As per the incentive package, the power consumers of these categories would be charged the same rate as of the units they had consumed in same month of the last year and for the incremental use of units of corresponding months, the flat rate would be Rs11.97 per unit.

Giving the example, he said that if a consumer had consumed 100 units in corresponding months and now in these mentioned months he consumes 120 units, then on 100 units would be charged with the normal rates while the incremental 20 units would be charged with 11.97/unit.

He said it would encourage, especially the industrial sectors to boost their production by increasing their working shifts and also will help in jobs creation. It would also help in making Pakistan competitive in international market and boost our exports.

Omar said the government has estimated that this flat tariff regime would serve around 31 percent consumers. This constitutes 22 percent share of industrial sector, 4.22pc residential (III-phase ToU) and 4.6 percent commercial consumers (III-phase). Through this package, around 1800 to 2000MW extra would go to these consumers. It would be available 24 hours to the consumers.

The government is also working on adding around 8000MWs renewable energy to the National Grid by 2025 which would bring down the average power tariff.

Omar further said Alternative Energy Development Board (AEDB) under the power division has also given approval for issuance of letter of support (LoS) to 11 wind power projects having combined power generation capacity of 500MWs. Its cost in dollar term would be 4.3 cents or around Rs6 per unit, he said.

The minister said the government has earmarked Rs226 billion subsidies for power consumers, especially for those who consume less than 300 units and which constitute 75pc of the total consumers. Besides, agricultural tubewells and some commercial consumers are also enjoying subsidised rates.

The minister has skipped a question about the Karkey settlement and said the Attorney General can talk about it. However, he said, “It would be at ‘zero cost’.”

Secretary Power Division Irfan Ali said in the past, we had energy shortage and now there is no such issue. And on the electric feeders where the power theft is zero, there would be no power outage. Since, we have sufficient installed capacity, so we want to pass its benefit on to the consumers. So, this flat rate has been announced for industrial, commercial and domestic consumers. Normally, in these four months, hydropower generation reduces, but as the installed capacity is there of around 35,000MWs, government would provide electricity to these consumers at the flat rate.