Can’t Impose Licensing of Power Generation Under The Garb Of Approval: RERC

Highlights :

  • RERC said that delicensing power generation and captive plants was one
    of the major reforms of the Electricity Act, 2003.
  • It criticised the role of Jaipur discom for imposing licencing of solar generation in the name of approvals.
Can’t Impose Licensing of Power Generation Under The Garb Of Approval: RERC UPNEDA Sets Sights on Selecting Solar Power Developers for 500 MW Rooftop PV Project

The Rajasthan Electricity Regulatory Commission (RERC), in its latest judgment, reiterated that discoms should not make attempts to impose licensing of power generation under the garb of approvals. The State Commission said that such moves could dilute the reforms made under the Electricity Act of 20023. 

“Delicensing of the generating plants and captive plants was one of the major reforms of the Electricity Act, 2003. They all have been removed under Sec 7 & 9 of the Act & CPPs have been totally liberated from all Authorities. Hence, Licensing cannot be introduced in the name of permissions & approvals,” the detailed order of the Commission said. 

The order from the Commission came to the fore when Bosch Limited, operating off-grid captive solar plants from the industrial area of Jaipur, moved to the RERC against its local discom-Jaipur Vidyut Vitran Nigam Limited (JVVNL) against an alleged misconceived electricity bill of Rs 1.31 crore. 

The Petitioner had claimed that its captive power plants of different capacities started operating before the RERC (Grid-Interactive Distributed Renewable Energy Systems) Regulations, 2021, or DREGS Regulations 2021, came into existence. Bosch also said that DREGS Regulations did not apply to the generator as their solar plants were not connected to the Grid. 

JVVNL, on the other side, said that during the first time verification, it found that the Petitioner was running a solar plant and was not paying any electricity duty. It said that even after the DREGS Regulations came into force, Bosch did not inform the discom about their solar captive generation, leading to loss of electricity duties. JVVNL said it levied electricity duty from April 2020 and fixed charges from June 15, 2021, when the DREGS Regulations existed. 

The RERC, in its order, said, “It is the submission of the Petitioner that a huge bill of nearly Rs 1.31 Crores has been raised by Jaipur Discom under the DREGS Regulations, 2021, while the Petitioner has a solar captive plant, not connected with the Grid. Hence, those Regulations do not apply to the Petitioner’s captive plant…Similarly, under Section 9 of the Act, Captive generating plants have been liberated from licensing etc. Therefore, on the face of it, the claim of the Respondent is frivolous & unsustainable in law.”

The Commission meanwhile noted that Bosch was ready to pay the Electricity Duty but was mainly aggrieved with the imposition of Fixed Charges levied under the DREGS Regulations on account of non-intimation to the discoms. 

Talking about the impact of DREGS Regulations on off-grid solar captive users, the RERC said, “It is further observed that Regulation 10.14.6 as reproduced above provides that the Consumers, who have connected their Solar Rooftop PV systems behind the Consumer’s meter and not opted for Net Metering arrangement under RERC (Connectivity and Net Metering for Rooftop and Small Solar Grid Interactive Systems) Regulations, 2015 and subsequent amendments thereof, shall intimate the Distribution Licensee such details in Model Form within three (3) months from the notification of Regulations and the regulation further provides for consequence of non-intimation of such details to the Distribution Licensee.”

RERC said that being the consumer, it was the duty of the Petitioner to intimate the Distribution Licensee the various particulars in the model form annexed with the Regulations and there could be no other way of intimating to the Distribution Licensee when the same was specifically provided in the Regulations.

“Accordingly, it is held that the Regulations cast a mandatory obligation on the part of the consumer to intimate the Distribution Licensee and also provide the consequence of non-intimation with the specified time. In our view, the Petitioner has failed to fulfill the said obligation of this case, thus, the Distribution licensee has rightly levied the fixed charges,” the RERC order said. 

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