Ministry to Amend Electricity Rules to Expedite Residential Rooftop Solar Installations
Stakeholders can submit their comments by January 12, 2024
The Ministry of Power has proposed amendments to the Electricity (Rights of Consumers) Rules, 2023, to accelerate the residential rooftop solar installations in the country.
The proposed amendments, once implemented, will direct DISCOMs to expedite the application process for the rooftop solar installations, metering setup, and feasibility study duration.
Stakeholders can submit their comments by January 12, 2024.
Release of new connection and modification in existing connection
Upon receiving a complete and accurate application, DISCOMs must establish new connections or modify existing ones within three days in metropolitan areas, seven days in other urban areas, and fifteen days in rural regions.
In cases where extending distribution mains or commissioning new substations is required to provide electricity, DISCOMs must promptly supply electricity upon completing such work or within a timeframe specified by the commission.
DISCOMs must provide individual electricity connections to owners or occupants of premises within a group housing society, residential colony, resident welfare association, or a comparable registered body upon their request. The appropriate commission must establish regulations within six months of this notification.
If registered bodies supply electricity through a single-point connection, they must not impose a tariff exceeding the retail tariff set by the appropriate commission for that consumer category.
In the case of a single-point connection, these registered bodies can charge an additional amount, covering the cost of supplying electricity to individual consumers from the single-point connection, as determined by the appropriate commission within six months of publishing these rules.
DISCOMs must provide a separate connection for the electric vehicle charging system when requested by an individual consumer or registered bodies.
DISCOMs must conduct meter testing within thirty days of receiving a consumer complaint about meter discrepancies, stoppage, seal damage, burning, or other issues, as the commission specifies.
If consumers report meter reading discrepancies compared to their electricity consumption, DISCOMs must install an additional meter within three days of receiving the complaint. This additional meter is installed to verify consumption for a period specified by the commission, not less than three months.
Consumer as prosumer
DISCOMs must complete the technical feasibility study for rooftop solar projects within a specified time frame not exceeding fifteen days and communicate the study’s outcome to the applicant. Installing up to 10 kW of rooftop solar systems is exempt from the technical feasibility study.
However, the appropriate commission has the authority to set a higher limit exceeding 10 kW for this exemption.
If technical feasibility studies indicate the need to strengthen distribution infrastructure, including distribution transformers, for rooftop solar installations within the mentioned capacity limits, DISCOMs must develop the infrastructure and the associated cost is included in their revenue requirement. If the outcome of the technical feasibility study is not communicated to the applicant within the prescribed period, presume that the proposal is technically feasible.
After installing a solar system, the consumer must submit the installation certificate to DISCOM. DISCOM must then finalize the connection agreement, install the meter, and ensure the successful commissioning of the solar system within fifteen days from the submission of the installation certificate.
The DISCOM web portal should have the formats for the contract agreement and installation certificate.
In June, the Ministry of Power amended the Electricity (Rights of Consumers) Rules, directing state commissions to ensure the tariff for solar hours must be at least 20% lower than the normal tariff for all consumer categories except agricultural consumers.
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