Andhra High Court Stays APERC’s Public Hearing to Revise Solar Tariffs
The hearing was expected to be held on December 7, 2019
The Andhra Pradesh high court has stayed the notice issued by the Andhra Pradesh Electricity Regulatory Commission (APERC) for public hearings to revise solar tariffs.
The APERC was expected to hold this hearing on December 7, 2019. The state government had earlier constituted a high-level negotiation committee to review, negotiate, and bring down these prices.
The high court ordered the stay after a petition was filed by Waaneep Solar Private Limited, a special purpose vehicle (SPV) promoted through a public-private partnership between Waaree Energies and North Eastern Electric Power Corporation Limited (NEEPCO). The petition noted that these tariffs were discovered through a transparent, competitive bidding process under Section 63 of the Electricity Act 2003. According to the petition of Waaneep Solar, these tariffs cannot be revised.
The court has now decided that the case would be heard on December 19, 2019.
The ongoing dispute in Andhra Pradesh over the revision of solar and wind tariffs has set a bad precedent for the industry at large, besides making the developers apprehensive and hurting the investor sentiment.
In September 2019, the high court ordered that the terms of the contract have to be honored, and the state has no say in the prices as it is to be determined by law. The court ordered that until it is determined that the price is indeed high, power cannot be curtailed. It ordered DISCOMs to honor the bills of wind and solar purchasers and to pay all pending and future bills at the interim rates of ₹2.44 (~$0,03404)/kWh for solar power and ₹2.43 (~$0.0339)/kWh for wind power. A timeframe of six months was also suggested to the APERC for the other batch of writ petitions to dispose of the cases.
However, despite the high court’s orders, renewable energy generators have not been paid, and the state government has filed a writ appeal against the high court’s order.
Recently, Mercom reported that Union Power Minister R.K. Singh had shed light on the ongoing renewable energy battle between the Andhra Pradesh government and the Union Government. Singh explained that distribution companies (DISCOMs) in Andhra Pradesh have not been paying for renewable power for over a year citing high solar and wind energy purchase prices.
Shaurya is a staff reporter at MercomIndia.com with experience working in the Indian solar energy industry for the past four years in various roles. Prior to joining Mercom, Shaurya worked with a renewable energy developer and a consulting company. Shaurya holds a Bachelors Degree in Business Management from Lancaster University in the United Kingdom.