CERC Admits Adani Green Petition On LTA Over Pushback By CTUIL

SBSR Power Cleantech Eleven Private Limited (SBSR), a subsidiary of Adani Green Energy Limited, has won a minor victory at the Central Electricity Regulatory Commission (CERC), after the commission took the considered view to admit its petition, over the objections of the Central Transmission Utility Of India Limited (CTUIL).

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The Issue

The case refers to a petition by SBSR before the CERC where it requested extension/ deferment of operationalization of Long-Term Access (LTA) granted by the Central Transmission Utility of India Limited (CTUIL), in terms of the Long Term Access (LTA) Agreement dated 26.11.2019. The Petitioner made the following prayers: “direct the Respondent Nos. 1 and 2 to extend/ defer the operationalization of the Long-Term Access (LTA) granted to the Petitioner vide the LTA Agreement dated 26.11.2019 and Supplementary LTA Agreement dated 21.09.2021, till the actual SCOD/ COD is achieved by the Petitioner, or till 02.07.2022, whichever is earlier”.

SBSR is executing a 300 MW solar project it won in a SECI auction of January, 2019, which has been delayed due to multiple causes.

SECI had, after issuing LOA and signing PSAs with relevant discoms, executed a back-to-back Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) dated 20.08.2019 with SBSR for supply of 300 MW solar power, for a period of 25 years from SCOD. Article 2.1 of the said PPA provides the effective date as 03.07.2019. Further, the SCOD was mentioned as 03.01.2021. Accordingly, for the purpose of evacuating 300 MW solar power, SBSR applied to CTUIL for grant of LTA, which was granted by CTUIL vide its letter dated 29.10.2019. Subsequently, SBSR executed an LTA Agreement dated 26.11.2019 with CTUIL.

As it turns out, the firm is still to complete the project, thanks to the pandemic, and other reasons it cited in its petition. In fact, besides covid linked delays, it also cited the stay on the approval of the PSAs between SECI and the discoms by APTEL to claim that the agreement could not be considered operational during that period.

CTUIL Objections

CTUIL, on its part claimed that further extensions were being claimed on the basis of defaults  committed by SECI [and the Distribution Licensees (TPDDL and BYPL)] in seeking necessary regulatory approval of the PSAs. As such, CTUIL, has to necessarily perform its functions of planning and coordination envisaged under Section 38 of the Act. It claimed that it’s agreement had no connection legally with the state of the PPA and PSA’s signed between the developer, SECI or the discoms involved. Thus, it had a right to charge transmission charges from the date it had agreed to. Finally, it claimed that the CERC had no reason to even admit the petition as this issue had been settled by it in an earlier order, plus the deferment/alignment of LTA’s was no longer within the jurisdiction of the commission. It added that its entire responsibility in the regulatory scheme of connectivity and LTA grant, the relevant consideration, inter alia, was the transmission system availability as per the LTA commencement date indicated in the LTA application. All else was immaterial in law.

CERC View

The CERC after due consideration pointed to similar requests for deferment it has considered in the past, and the case was strong to hear this particular petition on its own merit. Thus, it admitted the petition.

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