KARACHI: The latest data from the National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (NEPRA) shows that the total power generation in May 2023 was recorded at 12,284GWh, reflecting a 23% increase on a month-on-month basis but still lower than the levels seen in the same month last year. The increase in power generation was mainly driven by the higher demand from the residential and commercial sectors due to the onset of summer.

However, the total power generation for the first 11 months of the fiscal year 2023 (11MFY23) stood at 115,876GWh, nearly 10% lower than the 128,476GWh generated in the same period last year. The lower power generation was attributed to the lower industrial demand amid the COVID-19 pandemic and the lockdown measures imposed by the government to contain its spread.

The data also reveals that the fuel mix for power generation has changed significantly in 11MFY23 compared to 11MFY22. The share of coal in the mix decreased from 19% to 16%, while the share of nuclear and hydel increased by 6 percentage points and 3 percentage points, respectively. The share of furnace oil, which is the most expensive fuel source, also declined from 9% to 6%.

The shift in the fuel mix has resulted in a noticeable improvement in the fuel cost for power generation, which decreased by 14% YoY in 11MFY23. The average fuel cost per unit was recorded at Rs.5.4/kWh in 11MFY23, compared to Rs.6.3/kWh in 11MFY22. The lower fuel cost has also helped reduce the circular debt issue faced by the power sector.

NEPRA expects that the power generation and demand will further increase in June 2023 as the peak summer season approaches. The regulator has also urged the power producers and distributors to ensure adequate supply and quality of service to the consumers.