Tribunal Asks Regulator to Re-Examine Penalty on POWERGRID Due to Project Delay

POWERGRID claimed that the commissioning delay was to ensure capacity was online


The Appellate Tribunal for Electricity (APTEL) recently ruled in favor of the Power Grid Corporation of India (POWERGRID) and asked the Central Electricity Regulatory Commission (CERC) to examine the matter regarding the delay in the construction of the transmission system for the evacuation of power from the Rewa Ultra Mega Solar’s (RUMSL) 750 MW solar park afresh.

POWERGRID had filed an appeal with APTEL seeking a determination of the transmission tariff from the anticipated commercial operation date of March 31, 2019, for the Loop-in Loop-out (LILO) of Vindhyachal-Jabalpur 400 kV second D/C line along with associated bays and equipment at 400/220 kV Rewa pooling station under the transmission system for RUMSL’s solar park in the Rewa district of Madhya Pradesh.


In the order, CERC had noted that the scheduled commercial operation date of the transmission program was within 14 months from the date of investment approval, matching the commissioning schedule of RUMSL solar park.

Accordingly, the scheduled commercial operation date of the instant asset was March 15, 2017, against which the commissioning date of the instant asset was announced as July 6, 2018; as such, there was a delay of 478 days in the commissioning of the project.

Also, POWERGRID had submitted that, as per the 2014 tariff regulations, the timeline for the construction of a new 400/220 kV substation was 30 months. The Ministry of Power had directed POWERGRID to complete transmission lines, including the pooling station, in a compressed time period to match it with the generation of RUMSL.

The solar park’s construction timeline was 12-15 months. Hence the appellant had compressed all construction activities to match the transmission program with the commissioning of the generation capacity.

Later the appellant was informed that the 6 X 220 kV bays were ready for charging along with two of 400/220 kV ICTs at Rewa pooling station, and the 400 kV LILO on Vindhyachal-Jabalpur-3 & 4 was also prepared.

RUMSL had informed unit-1 was expected to be ready for its first synchronization by March 30, 2018, the second unit by April 15, 2018, and the third unit by April 30, 2018.

Madhya Pradesh Power Management Company (MPPMCL) had stated that the transmission service provider was granted the approval to complete the work to match the implementation schedule of RUMSL.

CERC then noted that the main objective of the transmission system was to evacuate power from the Ultra Mega Solar Park (750 MW) in the Rewa district of Madhya Pradesh. RUMSL had submitted the project status with the cumulative capacity to be commissioned. Accordingly, the instant asset was put into commercial operation on July 6, 2018, matching the generation of RUMSL.

CERC had observed that the asset was ready on January 31, 2018, and the transmission service provider had neither explained the time over-run from the scheduled commercial operation date of March 15, 2017, to January 30, 2018, nor had it submitted any documentary evidence to justify the time delay.

POWERGRID clarified that RUMSL addressed several letters, and several meetings were held to establish that the transmission asset was ready on January 31, 2018. They had to delay the commercial operation date until July 6, 2018, to match the commercial operation date of RUMSL, which was on July 5, 2018.

Tribunal’s Analysis

In its order dated February 28, 2023, the Tribunal noted that several documents had been placed on record before the CERC by POWERGRID to show that there was no delay on their part, and the delay was solely on the part of RUMSL.

The appellant claimed that the documents would show that they had delayed the commissioning of their assets until July 6, 2018, only to accommodate RUMSL, and they cannot be penalized on this score.

RUMSL and MPPMCL submitted that they had not been able to ascertain the veracity of the contents of this affidavit, and they were in no position to either assert or deny the appellant’s claim.

In this light, the Tribunal directed CERC to examine the matter afresh in light of the abovementioned documents.

Last year, APTEL had set aside the order passed by CERC and directed POWERGRID to refund the encashed performance bank guarantee amount to three wind power project developers.

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