Govt maintains commitment to solar net-metering policy: Energy Minister Awais Ahmad Khan Leghari

Federal Minister for Energy, Awais Ahmad Khan Leghari, assured the public on Sunday that the government has no plans to abolish the solar net-metering policy. This statement comes in response to recent media reports suggesting a shift towards a gross-metering mechanism.

Net metering, a system that allows consumers to sell excess electricity generated from their solar panels back to the power grid, provides significant savings on electricity bills. Contrarily, under a gross metering system, all electricity generated is fed into the national grid and consumers must purchase the electricity they use from the distribution company, potentially diminishing the financial benefits.

During a press conference at the Lahore Electric Supply Company (Lesco) headquarters, Leghari dismissed the rumours of policy change, emphasising the government’s commitment to promoting solar energy. He highlighted that the net-metering policy was originally introduced by PML-N leader Nawaz Sharif in 2017 and remains a priority under the current administration.

“PML-N introduced this scheme [solar net-metering] in 2017. And we will continue encouraging net metering since it is a scheme close to the heart of PM Shahbaz Sharif,” Leghari stated. He added that the party takes pride in the initiative, which has benefited a significant number of consumers.

Leghari reassured that existing net-metering contracts would remain unaffected and any future policy modifications would involve consultations with all stakeholders. He noted the policy’s growing popularity, citing a 125 per cent increase in applications for net-metering licenses in 2023-24 compared to previous years.

“Currently, 0.3pc of the total electricity consumers have rooftop solar net-metering connections, with the number reaching 113,000,” Leghari reported.

Addressing other issues in the power sector, Leghari mentioned a notable 8pc reduction in electricity demand, attributed to a decline in industrial growth. He also instructed Lesco’s CEO to resolve system constraints to prevent overloading during hot weather conditions.

Leghari expressed dissatisfaction with the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) government’s handling of power theft, urging the province to present a feasible plan within the next 15 days to address the issue. He criticised the politicisation of power theft by one province, though he did not mention KP by name.

The government’s stance on net metering remains clear: it will continue to support and expand solar power initiatives, ensuring that consumers benefit from sustainable and cost-effective energy solutions.

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