Maharashtra Hikes Banking Charges to 8% Under New Open Access Rules
Under the new Green Energy Open Access rules, captive consumers won’t have load restrictions
The Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Commission (MERC) has increased the banking charges for green energy open access consumers to 8% of the energy banked from 2%.
Following the Electricity Act, 2003 and the Tariff Policy, 2016, the Commission has enacted amendments to the Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Commission (Distribution Open Access) Regulations, 2016.
These changes, outlined in the (Second Amendment) Regulations, 2023, address recent sectoral developments, including amendments to the Electricity (Promoting Renewable Energy Through Green Energy Open Access) Rules, 2022.
The new regulations stipulate that any unutilized surplus banked energy will be considered lapsed at each banking cycle’s end.
However, the renewable energy generating station is entitled to receive Renewable Energy Certificates (REC) for the lapsed banked energy.
The regulations provide that if the consumer is a captive consumer, there won’t be any restrictions on the load.
Consumers with a contract demand of 100 kW or more, or as may be amended in the rules, or an entity with multiple connections aggregating 100 kW or more in the same electricity circle of a distribution licensee are eligible to obtain power from Green Energy through Open Access.
Green Energy Open Access will be permitted for consumers with a contract demand lower than 1 MW. This is based on a special energy meter for all high-tension consumers and a ToD meter for all eligible low-tension Consumers.
Provisions for the Captive Power Project
- Captive consumers utilizing Green Energy Open Access will have no limit on power supply load.
- The license area restriction applies exclusively to the Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Company Limited (MSEDCL). For all other distribution licensees, the area considered shall equal the entire license area.
- Open Access consumers sourcing power from renewable energy generators are not subject to the capacity limit. However, they are subject to conditions related to the resultant power flow, as specified.
- Additionally, in the scenario of having multiple connections before initiating Green Energy Open Access, consumers must notify the distribution licensee in advance about the percentage share of energy generation from the renewable energy projects allocated to each connection. This would ensure the distribution licensee can appropriately account for the energy distribution.
- Green Energy Open Access consumers would not be allowed to alter the amount of power consumed through open access for a minimum of twelve-time blocks.
- The provisions of Green Energy Open Access are valid only when the power is sourced along with the green attribute. This provision does not apply if the generator is separately selling RECs or the renewable component.
If the consumer meets the eligibility criteria, a consumer with rooftop renewable energy generating systems can simultaneously avail Open Access under these regulations.
During this simultaneous operation, the net drawal recorded on the net meter, adjusted for banking credit available under rooftop regulations, will be utilized for adjusting energy credit, following the priority stipulated in the principal regulations.
Central Nodal Agency
For Short-Term Green Energy Open Access, the Maharashtra State Load Despatch Centre, and for Medium/Long-Term Green Energy Open Access, the State Transmission Utility will perform the duties of the Nodal Agency as outlined by the Central Nodal Agency.
The relevant distribution licensee must provide the necessary details to the Nodal Agency for compliance with timelines specified in the rules and procedures for Green Open Access by the Central Nodal Agency.
Cross Subsidy Surcharge
The cross-subsidy surcharge will not be applicable if power is supplied to the Open Access Consumer from a non-fossil fuel-based waste-to-energy plant. It will also not be applicable if green energy is used to produce green hydrogen and green ammonia.
No additional surcharge is applicable if power from a non-fossil fuel-based Waste-to-Energy plant is supplied to the Open Access Consumer. It will also not apply if green energy is utilized to produce green hydrogen and green ammonia.
No additional surcharge is applicable for electricity produced from offshore wind projects commissioned up to December 2032 and supplied to Open Access Consumers and for Green Energy Open Access consumers if fixed charges are paid by such consumers.
In a ruling, the MERC allowed Pimpri Chinchwad Municipal Corporation to procure power through open access from a waste-to-energy plant developed by Antony Lara Renewable Energy without cross-subsidy and additional surcharges.
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