CERC Rules With NTPC in Dispute Involving Solar Firm at Bhadla

Highlights :

  • Solaire had filed a petition claiming wrongful damages charged by NTPC< for delays in commissioning of solar projects.
  • It also underscores the vital and often overlooked role of managing transmission infrastructure for large solar parks, like the Bhadla pak.

In a petition filed by Solaire Surya Urja Private Limited, the Central Electricity Regulatory Commission (CERC) has ruled in favour of NTPC. At issue was a plea to condone delays in the commissioning of these (70×2) 140 MW solar projects or which NTPC had enforced liquidated damages of over Rs 7 crores.

Filed under Section 79 of the Electricity Act, 2003 read with Article 16.3.1 of the Power Purchase Agreements dated 02.05.2016 executed between the Petitioner and NTPC Limited, it sought extension of the Scheduled Commissioning Date for two 70 MW solar power projects.

Solaire’s main contention was that the delays were caused by delays in transmission infrastructure. This claim, while true  as far as transmission infra delays went, was found wanting when compared to the solar projects actually commissioning dates. Since there was a delay there as well, and NTPC had charged damages only for the period  of delay on the solar projects, and not actual start of injection into the grid, the CERC saw it fit to side with NTPC’s view on the issue.

An interesting aside to the case was the commissions view that  Rajasthan utilities are neither a necessary nor a
proper party to the proceedings, since an effective order can be made in their absence and no relief qua the Rajasthan utilities is required to be granted in the present case.

A key issue that swung the decision in favour of NTPC was the short notice given to the distribution utilities to provide transmission infrastructure by the petitioner, when a minimum of 60 days is mandated.

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