Net or gross-metering

It cannot be ignored that net metering has been a game-changer for Pakistan’s energy sector

May 22, 2024


In the light of recent media reports suggesting a potential shift in Pakistan’s solar energy policy following IMF talks, Federal Minister for Energy Awais Ahmad Khan Leghari’s reassurance that the government has no plans to abandon the current net-metering policy is a welcome relief. According to reports, the energy ministry highlighted concerns regarding the impact of net metering on the revenues of DISCOs. The adoption of solar panels has led to a reduction in the demand for grid electricity, resulting in increased payments for idle capacity and quarterly tariff adjustments. In the last ten months alone, solar panels worth 6,800 MW were imported, indicating a significant uptake in solar energy adoption among consumers.

The prospect of replacing net-metering with a gross-metering mechanism sparked concerns among solar energy advocates and consumers alike. It cannot be ignored that net metering has been a game-changer for Pakistan’s energy sector. The policy of allowing consumers to sell excess electricity generated by their solar panels back to the power grid has not only provided significant financial relief to households but also encouraged the adoption of renewable energy solutions. While concerns about the financial sustainability of DISCOs and the impact of net metering on their revenues are valid, it is essential to strike a balance between the interests of all stakeholders involved. The government must ensure that any policy changes do not undermine the progress made in promoting renewable energy adoption or discourage consumers from transitioning to cleaner and more cost-effective energy sources.

Moreover, efforts to address the challenges faced by DISCOs should not come at the expense of sustainable energy development. Instead, policymakers should explore alternative solutions, such as improving operational efficiency, reducing distribution losses and implementing demand-side management measures to mitigate the financial strain on DISCOs while continuing to support renewable energy uptake.

Published in The Express Tribune, May 22nd, 2024.

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