To facilitate its industrialists and benefit from the open market, Punjab Industrial Estate Development and Management Company (PIEDMC) has decided to supply electricity to all the industrial states that fall under its management. Following the instructions of PIEDMC Chairman Syed Nabil Hashmi an application was moved to National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (NEPRA) for obtaining a distribution license.
It is important to note that some time ago, NEPRA had approved “Competitive Trading Bilateral Contracts Market” for competitive trade. Considering its utility, PIEDMC would purchase electricity directly from this market through an open bidding process. After it obtains the license from NEPRA, PIEDMC itself would supply electricity to Sundar, Quaid-e-Azam, Sheikhupura, Rahim Yar Khan, Multan, Bahawalpur, Vehari and Bhalwal industrial estates. Uninterrupted power supply would be made possible with the best transmission system to the industrial sector.
Chairman PIEDMC Syed Nabil Hashmi said that non-supply of utilities in today’s industrial age is unfortunate for the industrial sector. He asked NEPRA to address the undue delay in supplying power to industrial estates as soon as possible.
PIEDMC introduces a policy to encourage net-metering
NEPRA, in 2015, issued its net-metering regulations that allow the DISCO’s in Pakistan to purchase excess units of electricity produced by the consumers through solar and wind power and net them off with their consumption from the grid. The power that would be generated would reach the end consumer via distribution utility who would then be able to install a renewable energy facility and send the excess electricity back to the distribution grid and earn credit for his export.
Acknowledging these regulations, the Board of Directors (BOD) at PIEDMC have also introduced a policy to encourage net-metering in all of its industrial states. The policy is going to be implemented in Sunder Industrial Estate first as PIEDMC is the one overlooking the distribution and development of the electricity networks there.
The plan of installing digital electricity meters in the Sundar Industrial Estate has been put into action. The purpose of installing these smart meters is ensure to transparency by allowing real-time monitoring of the electricity meters for the industrialists.
The management of SIE has initiated the pilot project of smart metering in 10 industries for now. Once it proves to be successful, it will be extended to all 531 industries of the state. The process of procuring digital meters would soon be started by SIE’s management in accordance with the PPRA rules.
Mr. Ali Muazzam Syed, COO PIEDMC, stated that they are in the process of acquiring the services of an expert consultant so that this project of net-metering that has been initiated can be completed professionally. Currently, there are around 8 units that are generating electricity through solar energy. PIEDMC’s objective is to make sure that these 8 consumers and the ones who would join later, can benefit from at least 30 units of net-metering. It believes that this move would also make the consumers more inclined towards green energy and would help counter climate change. PIEDMC hopes that one day it would generate enough green energy to export to Lahore Electric Supply Company (LESCO). It also plans to introduce net-metering in the remaining industrial estates in the future. Mr Ali stated that PIEDMC is currently encouraging the new consumers to install solar panels and photovoltaic panels so that they can benefit from net-metering in the future.
The significance of uninterrupted power supply for industries
The government and industry players both acknowledge that power supply is often a bottleneck for the development of the industrial estates. Industrial estates play a crucial role as one of the key drivers of economic development. These delineated areas established to harbor industrial activities serve as a focal point for investment in the manufacturing sector.
In Pakistan, PIEDMC has taken the lead in transforming the industrial landscape of the country. This public-private entity was formed in 2003, with the vision to promote industrialization in the province of Punjab. And this vision was brought to life through the construction of nine industrial estates throughout Punjab that have now attracted a number of local and foreign investors.
Quaid e Azam Business Park (QABP) is the latest industrial estate launched by PIEDMC. This modern industrial state enjoys the status of a special economic zone (SEZ) and is said to have the capacity to generate two hundred and fifty thousand new jobs for skilled and unskilled workers.
However, all these industrial estates need access to a reliable power supply system to thrive. The expansion of the manufacturing activities in industrial estates will be extremely critical to Pakistan’s competitiveness, industrial development and employment generation. But the lack of power supply represents an obstacle to this expansion. Therefore, it is necessary that these industrial estates be provided with uninterrupted power supply as reliable supply, as well as efficient management of electrical power are essential factors in generating competitive advantages for industrial operations in process.