MERC (Maharashtra Electricity regulatory Commission) came up with its draft order on 16th September, 2015, on new regulations for distribution open access in the state of Maharashtra. The key changes were:
- Reduction of Eligibility limit from 1MW to 0.5mw
- Allowing sourcing of power from multiple sources
- Allowing sourcing of power from power exchanges.
A comparative analysis, with the previous Open Access Regulation, 2014 is given below:
- The open access consumers shall pay wheeling Charges, Cross Subsidy Surcharge and additional Surcharge as specified by the state commission in relevant orders.
- Open Access Customer having a load of 5 MW or above shall pay Reactive Energy Charges and also shall pay Standby charges for drawl of power by open access consumer.
The Honorable commission has invited comments and suggestions from various stakeholders on the same, to be submitted till 8th October 2015.
In our opinion, MERC has proposed a progressive open access regulation. In the recent past, consumers in Maharashtra have faced various issues and problems of availing open access (for example, allowing open access only from one source and reduction in contract demand as a result of open access). The draft regulations seeks to do-away with such restrictive practices.
Further, lowering the limit of open access eligibility to 0.5MW and allowing sourcing power exchanges will help consumers and deepen the market.
Clear banking provisions and wider eligibility will also be beneficial for renewable energy projects and is likely to result in higher development of RE projects as Maharashtra is a RE resource rich state.
More details on the Regulation can be accessed here.
The previous MERC Open Access Regulation 2014 can be accessed here.