ISLAMABAD: Zonergy Company Limited, a Chinese concern working on a 900-megawatt solar power project, has warned that a revision in the agreed upfront tariff will pose a serious threat and jeopardise the spirit of cooperation under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) programme.
Upset over the move by the National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (Nepra) to push the tariff down from 14.15 cents to 9.25 cents per unit from January 2016, Zonergy President Yu Yong has sent a letter to Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif.
In the letter, he recalled that the company’s interest in setting up the solar power plant dated back to August 2013 when the first memorandum of understanding (MoU) was signed. The Punjab government and Zonergy signed another MoU on July 9, 2014 in Beijing for installation of the 900MW plant in Bahawalpur under the Quaid-e-Azam Solar Park project.
This was followed by a project commitment agreement on July 23, 2014 and both sides agreed on a tariff of 14 cents per unit excluding taxes and also reached agreement on associated conditions and the project implementation schedule.
This tariff, he claimed, was quite below the prevailing market standard as Nepra’s tariff at that time was 16.2 cents per unit, but the company accepted it in view of the economies of scale of the project.
“During our informal discussion with members of a Pakistani delegation that recently visited Beijing, we learnt that the 14.15 cents per unit tariff will apply only to the initial 300MW solar plant and there is reportedly a move to revise the tariff for the second and third plants of 300MW each,” he said. “This proposed revision is a serious threat to the project.”
Zonergy has already invested heavily in the engineering design and got commitments from various institutions and manufacturers for financing and equipment procurement.
The company president stressed that the proposed revision jeopardised the viability of the project as Chinese financial institutions had already noted that the tariff of 14.15 cents was even lower than the prevalent tariff in the Chinese market.
“We request that the agreements and contracts signed by the two sides should be honoured and implemented,” he said. “Since special purpose companies, each assigned the development of a 100MW plant, have been registered, the upfront tariff shall remain applicable for the entire 900MW plant at 14.15 cents per unit.”
Published in The Express Tribune, November 11th, 2015.