MPERC announces Amendments to the (Forecasting, Scheduling, Deviation Settlement Mechanism and related matters of Wind and Solar Regulations, 2018

Madhya Pradesh has recently announced the first amendment of the (Forecasting, Scheduling, Deviation Settlement Mechanism and related matters of Wind and Solar generating stations) Regulations, 2018. The commission has invited comments for the same till 14th March 2019. The Commission shall arrange a public hearing, if required, on 15.03.2019 at 11:30 AM at Commission’s Office.

The regulatory commission has also issued the procedure detailed the operating procedure for implementation of MPERC (forecasting, scheduling, deviation settlement mechanism and related matters of wind and solar generating stations) regulations, 2018.

The summary of the amendments in the DSM regulations are as follows:

Principal regulation

Proposed amendments

Regulation 2 (g) ‘Deviation’ in a time-block for a Seller means its total actual injection minus its total  scheduled generation and for a Buyer means its total actual drawal minus its total scheduled drawal, and shall form part of the State Energy Accounts to be prepared by
SLDC.
Regulation 2 (g) ‘Deviation’ in a time block for a Seller means its total actual injection minus its total scheduled generation.”
Regulation 2 (j) “Gaming’ in relation to these regulations, shall mean intentional misdeclaration of declared capacity by any seller in order to make an undue  commercial gain through Charge for Deviations; Regulation 2 (j) the word ‘declared’ shall be substituted by the word ‘available’.
Regulation 3 (2) These Regulations shall be applicable to Seller(s) and Buyer(s) involved in the transactions facilitated through short-term open access or medium-term open access or long-term open access in intra-state transmission or distribution of electricity (including intra-state wheeling of power), as the case may be, in respect of all wind generators having a combined installed capacity of 10 MW and above and solar generators with an installed capacity of 5 MW and above including those connected via pooling stations and selling power within or outside the State.
Regulation 3 (2) … Provided that these Regulations shall also be applicable to all wind & solar  generators selling power outside the State under open access and having a combined installed capacity of 1 MW and above.”

Regulation 4 (7) All State Entities shall make necessary arrangements for putting up suitable meters,
capable of recording energy flows at 15-minutes intervals, at the points of injection and drawal.
Regulation 4 (7) …providing AMR facility for data downloading remotely at SLDC.”

New added clauses 4(8) & (9)

“ (8) All wind or solar generators including those connected via pooling station shall have to appoint a common QCA which may be one of the generators or mutually agreed agency. If generators fail to appoint a common QCA within a period of one month from the date of issue of notice by SLDC, then SLDC shall advise the concerned licensee for disconnection of pooling station/feeder from the grid.  The licensee shall disconnect the pooling station/feeder from the Grid under intimation to SLDC.

(9) In case more than 50% wind or solar generators including those connected via pooling station have consented for a particular QCA, then remaining generators shall have to appoint the same agency as a QCA. In case of non-compliance of SLDC  instructions, SLDC shall advise the concerned licensee to disconnect the defaulting generators from the Grid The licensee shall disconnect the pooling
station/feeder from the Grid under intimation to SLDC.”

Regulation 5 (c) Settlement Period: Preparation and settlement of ‘Deviation Pool Accounts’ shall be undertaken on weekly basis coinciding with mechanism followed for regional energy accounts.

…Till such time, but not later than three months from the date of the notification, the complete weekly ABT meter data is received through AMR System or manual data download by MRI, the State Load Despatch Centre shall prepare and issue  Deviation Charges Account on monthly basis.
Regulation 10(1) Governance Structure and constitution of State Power Committee (1) Within three months from the date of notification of these Regulations, the State Load Despatch Centre shall formulate Operating Procedures and Business Rules for the constitution of State Power Committee, which shall be approved by the State
Commission
Regulation 10(1) is substituted as under:
“(1) Within two months from the date of notification of these Regulations, the State
Load Despatch Centre shall formulate “a State Power Committee and its functions” and submit to the for approval.”Commission  

RERC announces draft REC regulations (third amendment) 2019

RERC announces draft REC regulations (third amendment) 2019

Rajasthan Electricity Regulatory Commission recently announced the draft Renewable Energy Certificate (REC) & Renewable Purchase Obligation (RPO) regulations 2019 (third amendment). The amendments are stated as below:

Original regulation Amendments
10. Pricing and purchase under REC mechanism

(2) The effective electricity component price during the operating period would be as under (a) For distribution licensee(s), shall be equal to the Pooled Cost of Power Purchase. For determination of Pooled Cost of Power Purchase for a particular year, Discoms shall submit a petition for computation of Pooled Cost of Power Purchase to the Commission latest by 30th June of the following year. The Commission shall issue an order relating to the Pooled Cost of Power Purchase within one month of acceptance of the petition. Till the issue of order regarding the Pooled Cost of Power Purchase, the Pooled Cost of Power Purchase of the previous year shall continue to be valid as Provisional Pooled Cost of Power Purchase. After the issue of an order for the Pooled Cost of Power Purchase by the Commission, the difference with the Provisional Pooled Cost of Power Purchase shall be adjusted equally in the bills of the next four months or as decided by the Commission in the order determining the Pooled Cost of Power Purchase for that year. (b) For sale to Open Access Consumers or a Captive User, it shall be at a mutually agreed price

“(2) The effective electricity component price applicable w.e.f. 1.04.2019 to the projects commissioned up to 31.03.2019 shall be as under The electricity component price of energy supplied by a RE project to distribution Licensee(s) shall be Rs 2.67/unit. This rate shall remain applicable for its remaining useful life, for which PPA shall be extended accordingly. Provided that such projects may also use such electricity for self-consumption or sell electricity at a mutually agreed price to other entities.”
10.  Pricing and purchase under REC mechanism

(4) Purchase of electricity component from the Renewable Energy having been issued REC would not be counted in fulfillment of RPO and would not be mandatory. Provided that with the tor, the pricing methodologies for electricity component and REC shall be reviewed at periodic intervals as may be considered appropriate by the Commission

(4) “Purchase of electricity component from the Renewable Energy having been issued REC would not be counted in fulfillment of RPO.”
12. Pricing options for new renewable energy projects to be commissioned during the Operating Period

(1) All the new renewable energy projects commissioned during the Multiyear Control Period, after coming into force of these Regulations and which do not have PPA prior to coming into effect of these Regulations for purchase of Renewable Energy shall have the option of either following the tariff structure and other conditions as stipulated in the RERC (Terms and Conditions for Determination of Tariff) Regulations, 2009 as amended from time to time, subject to agreement of licensee or adopt pricing of the REC mechanism.

“ In case RE generator under REC mechanism wishes to opt out for REC mechanism and if the Discoms agree to purchase the renewable energy they may extend the PPA at the tariff not exceeding Rs 3.17/unit for remaining useful life of the plant and in such case the electricity purchased would be counted towards fulfillment of RPO and RE Generator would not be entitled to REC Certificate. Provided that above provision of the regulation shall not be applicable to an entity whose accreditation/registration has been a progressive development of the electricity revoked by the State / Central Agency.”

MNRE issues amendments in guidelines for the tariff-based competitive bidding process for solar PV projects

The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) along with the Ministry of Power (MoP) recently announced the amendments to the guidelines for the tariff-based competitive bidding process for procurement & Power from grid-connected solar PV power projects. The amendments made to the guidelines dated 3rd August 2017 and amended on 15th June 2018 are as follows:

Amendment in Point 9: Indicative time table for the bid process

Amendment in Point 12: Financial closure

“Solar Power Generator shall attain the financial closure in terms of the PPA, within 9 (nine) months from the date of execution of the Power Purchase Agreement, for projects being set up in Solar park, and within 12 (twelve) months from the date of execution of the Power Purchase Agreement, for projects being set up outside Solar park. However, if for any reason, the time period for attaining the financial closure needs to be kept smaller than that provided in these Guidelines, the Procurer can do the same.

Amendment in Point 14.3: Commissioning schedule

“The projects shall be commissioned, within a period of 15 (fifteen) months from the date of execution of the PPA, for projects being set up in Solar park, and within a period of 18 (eighteen) months from the date of execution of the PPA, for projects being set up outside Solar park…”

The issued amendments might be intended to bring discipline and consistency in the competitive bidding process as the government intends to achieve renewable energy installed capacity of 175 GW by 2022.

RERC announces draft (first amendment) Net metering regulations 2018 for rooftop & small solar grid interactive system.

Rajasthan Electricity Regulation Commission (RERC) has recently notified the draft (first amendment) of net metering regulations, 2018 for rooftop & small solar grid interactive system in Rajasthan. The pilot net metering regulations came in 2015, after that this is the first amendment proposed by the commission. Since the first regulations, the feed-in tariff for solar PV has reduced drastically even lower than feed-in-tariff determined by the Commission for such projects. However, the Rajasthan commission is of the opinion that the tariff determined through auctions for Mega power projects cannot be made applicable for Rooftop solar PV projects which are of the kilowatt capacities (max.1000 kW) due to the higher capital cost of such rooftop projects.

The current amendment also talks about the excess electricity generated by the rooftop generator in the regulation clause 10(3) as follows:

“ Provided that in the event the electricity injected exceeds the electricity consumed during the billing period, such excess injected electricity above 50 units shall be paid by the Distribution Licensee at its Average Power Purchase Cost of the previous year. Provided further that Commission may review the above rate through an order as and when required. Net energy credits less than 50 units under Net Metering achieved in the particular billing period shall be adjusted in the next billing period till credit of 50 units is achieved.”

The regulation will come into effect after the date of notification in the official gazette.

Rajasthan commission has also released a discussion paper recently suggesting that the DISCOMs should purchase green energy directly instead of buying the electricity component form the RE projects.

CERC announces draft (Deviation Settlement Mechanism and related matters) (Fourth Amendment) Regulations, 2018

The CERC has announced the draft (fourth) amendments of Deviation Settlement Mechanism & related matters regulations. The principal regulations came into effect in January 2014 followed by three amendments in December 2014, August 2015 and May 2016 in that order. The previous amendments were notified to solve issues related to grid operations the Deviation Settlement Mechanism (DSM) impact with respect to frequency due to emerging markets. The latest amendments talk about the limitations of the DSM price vector and recommendation for the same.  According to the report prepared by an expert group consisting of representatives from CEA, POSOCO, CTU, and CERC suggestive measures have been given for bringing power system operation closer to the National Reference Frequency.

As per the report, the present DSM has design limitations and since the rates are designed by CERC the changing of rates takes time under the regulatory process and does not catch up with the change in prices in other market segments. The present DSM rates at 50 Hz (178 paise/unit) are linked to the variable charges of a pit-head thermal station whereas the highest DSM rate (824 paise/unit) is linked to the variable charges of the costliest generator (liquid fired). Ideally, the DSM price should capture the Value of Lost Load (VoLL) so that utilities procure adequately in advance so as to meet their universal service obligations.

Few amendments from the draft document are as below:

  • The definition of Area Clearing Price (ACP) & Day Ahead Market (DAM) is included in order to connect ACP & DAM to the DSM prices by considering the factor geography & transmission congestion.
  • The reference frequency band (49.85 Hz to 50.05 Hz) is proposed for the purpose of DSM price vector from the previous frequency band of (49.70 Hz and above).
  • The maximum ceiling limit applicable for average daily ACP discovered in the DAM segment of power exchange at 50.00 Hz is proposed to be 800 Paisa/kWh from 824 Paisa/kWh
  • The Day-ahead market price of the Power Exchange having a market share of 80% or more in energy terms on a daily basis is proposed to be taken into consideration for linking to the DSM price vector. If there is no single Power Exchange having a market share of 80% or more, the weighted average day-ahead price is proposed to be used for linking to the DSM price.
  • It is proposed to link the cap rates for generators using coal/lignite/ APM gas to the energy charges as billed for the previous month is proposed.
  • Reduction in the number of time blocks (from 12 to 6-time blocks) for a change of sign in case of sustained deviation in one direction is proposed.
  • Levy of an additional surcharge of 20% on the daily base DSM payable/receivable in case of violation of the stipulation regarding the change in sign.
  • It is proposed that the total deviation from schedule during a day should not be in excess of 3% of the total schedule for the drawee entities and 1% for the generators and in case of violation 20% of the daily base DSM payable/receivable be levied.

MNRE proposes amendments in the biomass co-generation policy

MNRE has been working towards supporting biomass-based cogeneration projects in the country and had introduced a scheme for the same in May 2018. The scheme provides CFA of INR 25 Lakhs/MW for bagasse cogeneration projects and INR 50 Lakh/MW for non-bagasse cogeneration projects.

Recently MNRE has made two amendments in clause 5 & 6 of the scheme to provide more financial support to the projects. The changes are as follows:

Apart from this, The Madhya Pradesh Electricity Regulatory Commission (MPERC) has rejected two petitions filed by owners of bagasse-based cogeneration projects against the imposition of cross-subsidy surcharge for self-consumption of power in Madhya Pradesh.

The petitioners Shri Durga Khandsari Sugar Mills and Narmada Sugar Private Limited had approached MPERC to not impose cross-subsidy on self-consumption of the electricity from its own bagasse-based cogenerating stations. However, both the plaintiffs were selling the majority of its generated electricty via open access and less than 51% was being self-consumed. Hence, the commission was of the opinion that whole power supplied by the cogeneration plants of the petitioners will be treated as if the power is supplied by a generating company.

MNRE has also invited an Expression of Interest (EOI) for tapping the potential of biomass and bagasse co-generation in the country as of October 2018, to promote the source of energy.

Proposed amendments of Electricity Act, 2018

The Ministry of Power of India has recently announced the draft proposed amendments to the Electricity Act, 2003. The proposed amendments aim to be in line with the country’s changing electricity markets and systems, with their large renewable capacities and the emergence of a smart grid network.
The Amendment proposes important changes in renewable energy, cross-subsidy, open access, operations & responsibility of ERCs, and many other changes. Some of these are discussed in brief below:

Renewable Energy

The EA Amendment 2018 proposes several amendments that are favorable to the RE sector. Some of these are:

  • Definition of Renewable Purchase Obligation and Renewable Generation Obligation introduced.
  • RPO has been separately defined. Related to this, the definition of “Obligated Entity” has also been introduced.
  • RGO means the Renewable Energy Generation capacity required to be established to be procured from Renewable Energy Sources, and sale of such energy along with the electricity generated from the coal or lignite based thermal generating station, by a generating company establishing a coal or lignite based thermal generating station.
  • Introduction of renewable energy service company which provides renewable energy to consumers in the form of electricity.
  • Introducing policies in order to support RE sector like National Renewable Energy Policy to promote smart grid, ancillary support, and decentralized distributed generation in accordance with the provisions of the Act;
  • A penalty of maximum Rs. Fifty lakh for non-compliance of RGO. (Reduced from 1 Cr. to 50 Lakh, the earlier penalty was on 1 lakh.)
  • For non-compliance of RPO, an additional penalty is proposed, which shall be minimum of Rs 1 per unit with a maximum of Rs 5 per unit depending on the extent of the shortfall.
  • Generation and supply of renewable energy will not require any license for such generation and supply.

Cross-subsidy

The draft EA Amendment proposes (a) time-bound reduction in cross-subsidies (CSS), and (b) CSS to be not more than 20% of the wheeling charge. These provisions are nothing new. The EA 2003 also included provisions for reduction of CSS. But these were watered down later.

 

The proposal that CSS be 20% of wheeling charges is significant, as if implemented, it will reduce CSS significantly. Also, the provision for charging “additional surcharge” is proposed to be deleted – this will also have a significant impact as in recent years states have used high additional surcharge as a tool to discourage open access.

Open Access

The draft EA Amendment states the following with respect to open access:

“With effect from the commencement of the Electricity (Amendment ) Act, 2018, all consumers having a connected load of 1 Mega Watt and above with the power system, may procure at their option electricity through open access under contractual agreement from any generating company, trading licensee, or from any other source.”

This implies automatic open access, without the need for permission from the Discom. If implemented, this will be a radical change and can potentially transform the electricity market in the country.

Separation of Carriage and Content

One of the key provisions in the previous EA amendment (proposed in 2014) was the separation of carriage and content – i.e. further breakup of the Discom into supplier and network operator, and also allowing multiple suppliers in the area of the Discom. This proposal was met with significant resistance from the state when the Standing Committee of the Parliament viewed the amendment. As a result, the current amendment, while retaining the provisions, has significantly diluted the scope of carriage and content separation by leaving it entirely to the decision of the state government.

In our opinion, this is a pragmatic approach, as it may allow the passage of the EA Amendment act without significant resistance from the states. However, the flip side of this approach is that such a reform will take a long time to be realized on the ground, and there will be significant differences between states. The EA2003 has heralded the break-up of Electricity Boards into Genco, Transco and Discom’s. Fifteen years on, the separation is still only partially effective in most states.

Others

  • Subsidy to be provided only through “Direct Benefit Transfer”. This can be a potential game-changer for the Discoms, and even for the entire sector. Today, subsidies are paid through the Discom, which, even though is a commercial entity, often works as a government arm. If DBT is introduced, it can pave the way for genuine Discom reforms on commercial principles.
  • Every proceeding before the Appropriate Commission shall be decided efficiently. Matters related to passing through in tariff on account of change in law/duties/taxes etc shall be decided in a maximum of 30 days. All other matters will be disposed of within 90 days. Regulatory Commission shall have all the powers of a civil court.
  • Development of market: Another important change has been the mandate to promote forward and futures contracts in electricity.

Conclusion

We believe that the proposed changes will have a wide and deep impact on the electricity sector. The promotion of RE and removal of roadblocks for development of RE and of open access in the country is a welcome step and one that was long overdue.

The separation of distribution and supply function also signifies a fundamental shift in the way electricity is distributed in the country. However, by watering down the provisions for the same and giving states the choice to implement is a pragmatic way the government has adopted to allow the passage of EA Amendment. In any case, this change is likely to take a long time to start showing on the ground.

Another radical change proposed is of paying subsidies through “Direct Benefit Transfer” only. This can be a potential game-changer for the sector and can pave the way for genuine Discom reforms on commercial principles.

The Infographic displayed above analyses the extent of usage of certain keywords in Electricity Act 2003, Draft EA amendment bill 2014 and the latest Draft Electricity Act 2018. The graph is prepared to understand how the government’s priority has evolved over the years from only conventional power to renewable energy as well.

The word ‘Renewable’ is used 22 times in Draft EA 2018, 23 times in Draft EA bill 2014 and just 4 times in EA 2003. Similarly, Open Access is used 20 times in EA 2003, 32 times in Draft EA bill 2014 and 23 times in Draft EA 2018.

Terms like RPO and Smart Grid have no mention in EA 2003, while in Draft EA bill 2014 RPO was used once & smart grid 7 times whereas Draft EA 2018 smart grid was used 5 times and Franchisee was used the highest 8 times in Draft EA 2018. The term Cross Subsidy is used the least in Draft EA 2018 just once and 3 times in both EA 2003 and Draft EA bill 2014.

MoP reveals proposed amendments related to captive power plants in Electricity Rules 2005

Ministry of Power recently announced proposed amendments in the electricity rules 2005 related to provisions regarding captive generating plants. The captive power producers body ICPPA expressed their woes against the proposed amendments.  According to ICPPA, these amendments are aimed at creating new ways of earning Cross Subsidy Surcharge (CSS) from captive users.

The amendments state that any captive user whose ownership of that plant is not exceeding 15% shall not qualify the power plant as a captive power plant. The proposed amendments have associated the ownership of the captive power plant with the eligibility of being a captive user.

In case the captive user fails to abide by the rules, then the electricity generated by the plant will be considered as if its a supply element by a generating company.

ICPPA secretary Rajiv Agrawal while interviewing with Economic Times said that “If any user is forced to draw lesser power share due to genuine reasons like the closure of its end-use plant for maintenance then the whole power generated in a year will be treated as non-captive and state income will charge CSS on it. It means all users of CPP will also have to pay the penalty, and thus the CPP may have to close down.”

The amendments suggest each captive user utilize 51% of the generated electricity from the captive plant and in case of group captive, each member should have a 26% equity share in the plant to be able to utilize the power from the plant.

“Captive plant set up by a company or any other body corporate, shall mean the issued and paid-up share capital in the form of equity share capital with voting rights (excluding equity share capital with differential voting rights) only as per the provisions of the Companies Act, 2013. In other cases, ownership shall mean proprietary interest and control over generating station or power plant, Provided further that for the purpose of assessing status as captive generating plant, a normative debt : equity ratio of 70:30 will be considered i.e. at least 26% of the equity base of 30% of capital employed, in the form of equity share capital with voting rights (excluding equity share capital with differential voting rights) needs to be invested by Captive user(s).”

In our opinion, the proposed amendments can bring stability in the electricity sector and increase the workability of DISCOMs across the country. By suggesting the eligibility of captive plants to be associated with the ownership in the plant the commission is asking the captive users to conduct rightful investments and be responsible towards the generation from the plant.

Read the document here.

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