Open Access Customers Expected to Pay Transmission and Wheeling Charges in Assam

The open access regulatory update is the first AERC has issued since 2005


The Assam Electricity Regulatory Commission (AERC) has issued draft terms and conditions for open access regulations in 2018.

According to the draft rules, generating companies, captive generating plants, and consumers would be required to pay for transmission and other charges in order to become eligible for open access to the intra-state transmission system of the state transmission utility (STU) or any intra-state transmission licensee.

The regulations would apply to the entire state of Assam and are set to come into force after they are published in the Assam Gazette.

The open access regulations are set to apply to intra-state transmission and distribution companies (DISCOMs) in the state as well as to inter-state transmission.

The updated regulations are the first issued by the AERC in more than a decade; the last time the agency issued open access regulations was back in 2005.

Open access would be allowed for every consumer that has a contract demand of 1 MW or more. Each open access customer would have to install a Special Energy Meter (SEM) at their place for energy accounting and a Remote Terminal Unit (RTU) to facilitate real-time monitoring by the state load dispatch center (SLDC).

Under the proposed rules, seven years of long-term open access (LTOA) would be allowed in accordance with transmission and distribution system planning criteria. Medium-term open access (MTOA) of five years would be allowed if the resultant power flow can be accommodated by the existing transmission and distribution system. Short-term open access (STOA) would be allowed if surplus capacity is available on the intra-state transmission or distribution system after use by LTOA and MTOA customers.

Open access customers would be expected to pay transmission and wheeling charges determined by AERC. In cases where an open access consumer uses both the intra-state and inter-state systems, transmission charges and wheeling charges would be payable for the use of the intra-state transmission system as well as the inter-state transmission system.

According to AERC, open access charges for grid-connected solar photovoltaic (PV) systems under net metering would be governed by the relevant provision of the AERC (Grid Interactive Solar PV Systems) Regulations, 2015.

In addition to the payment of transmission and wheeling charges, open access consumers would also be required to pay cross-subsidy surcharges to their regional DISCOM. The cross-subsidy surcharge for each grid-connected rooftop solar PV system under the net metering policy would also be governed by the relevant provision of the AERC (Grid Interactive Solar PV Systems) Regulations, 2015.

The CERC has set a national average power purchase cost (APPC) of ₹3.48 (~$0.0542)/kWh for 2017-18, except for a few states for open access.

The unveiling of Assam’s draft open access regulations comes on the heels of a similar announcement by the Bihar Electricity Regulatory Commission (BERC) earlier this month. Mercom  reported that BERC had also issued draft regulations pertaining to intrastate open access for 2018.