MERC Allows Green Open Access for Waste-to-Energy Producers with No Surcharges

The regulator said it is amending the rules to align with GEOA Rules


Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Commission (MERC) has allowed Pimpri Chinchwad Municipal Corporation (PCMC) to procure power through open access from a waste-to-energy plant developed by Antony Lara Renewable Energy (ALREPL) without cross-subsidy surcharges and additional surcharge.

The permission was granted per the regulation outlined in Electricity (Promoting Renewable Energy Through Green Energy Open Access) Rules, 2022 (GEOA Rules).

The Commission has acknowledged that it is in the process of amending its regulations to be in line with the GEOA Rules. During this transitional period, if any disparities arise between MERC’s existing regulations and the GEOA Rules, the latter will take precedence.


PCMC has given access and license to use about 29 acres of land in Moshi, Pune, to ALREPL for designing, building, financing, and operating a material recovery plant and waste-to-energy plant up to 14 MW capacity. Based on the rankine technology, the plant uses municipal solid waste to provide energy to PCMC.

Through a 21-year power purchase agreement (PPA), PCMC plans captive use of the power generation at a tariff of ₹5 (~0.061)/kWh.

PCMC and ALREPL filed a petition urging the Commission to temporarily apply the GEOA Rules issued in place of the state’s regulations for open access until the Commission formulates its own rules.

In May, the Ministry of Power instructed state electricity regulatory commissions to comply with the GEOA Rules and align their states’ open access regulations with the notified rules.

They requested the Commission to direct the Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Company (MSEDCL) and other distribution licensees to follow the guidelines issued by the Government of India until the Commission formulates suitable guidelines for Maharashtra.

They also filed interlocutory applications for interim relief in line with their main prayers.

The petitioners are involved in municipal waste management, particularly waste-to-energy projects using solid municipal waste as fuel. They entered into a concession agreement for such a project, aiming to reduce garbage dumps and landfills while generating electricity to meet PCMC’s energy needs.

The petitioners claim that the GEOA Rules include provisions for waste-to-energy projects and allow consumers with contracted demand of 100 kW and above to access green energy through open access without cross-subsidy surcharges and additional surcharges.

The petitioners are seeking interim relief from the Commission to apply GEOA Rules until the

While representatives of other distribution companies did not make any submissions during the hearing, MSEDCL opposed the petitioners’ request, arguing that until the regulations are amended, the relief sought cannot be granted.

Commission’s Analysis

The Commission said Section 181 of the Electricity Act, 2003 grants the state commissions the power to make regulations consistent with the Act and rules.

It pointed out that the Ministry of Power confirmed that the Green Energy Open Access Rules are subordinate legislation under the Electricity Act 2003, and all parties must comply. The 1 MW threshold mentioned in the rules is a minimum to be achieved within five years from the effective date of the Electricity (Amendment) Act, 2003, and the rules do not limit open access to only 1 MW.

The Commission further stated that it is in the process of aligning its regulations with the Green Energy Open Access Rules. While the Distribution Open Access Regulations 2016 will be amended following due process, implementing the Green Energy Open Access Rules cannot be stopped.

The Commission disagreed with MSEDCL’s submission and asserted that all parties must comply once the rules are notified. It noted that MSEDCL or other distribution licensees had raised no operational difficulties.

Any such issues can be addressed while amending the regulations, which the Commission will initiate shortly, it said, while allowing the relief sought in the petition.

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