MERC rules for transmission charges to be paid even where ISTS not used by generator

In a recent judgement published on March 18, the Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Commission (MERC) has ruled with the state discom on a plea by a wind generator. MERC’s order rejected Minex Metallurgical Pvt. Ltd.’s plea for the non levy of transmission charges and refund of transmission charges “wrongly levied” by Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Co. Ltd (MSEDCL) for wheeling of power under Open Access (OA) from its Wind Generator injected at 33 kV and drawn at 11kV distribution network of MSEDCL.

Minex is a 1.25 MW wind generator located at Ranjangaon, Dist-Dhule, and wheels power to its industrial plant at Nimji District Nagpur, through the Short-Term Open Access (STOA) arrangement. The approximate distance between the location of the Generator and Consumer (i.e injection and drawal point) is @ 500 km. The Petitioner is availing STOA as per the provisions of the DOA Regulations, 2016 as amended in 2019.

The main contentions of the Petitioner are that:

  • Petitioner’s Generator injection point as well as the consumer drawl point is connected to distribution network of MSEDCL, and no InSTS is used for wheeling of power under OA transactions and hence no transmission charges are applicable for its open access transactions.
  • As per the first amendment to the DOA Regulations,2016 transmission charges are applicable when the InSTS is used. Hence, only wheeling charges and wheeling losses are applicable to the Petitioner and no transmission charges are applicable.
  • MSEDCL has wrongly interpreted the Commission’s Order in Case No. 33 of 2007 and levied transmission charges as well as wheeling charges.
  • As per the TOA Regulations and MYT Regulations for applicability of transmission charges for TSU, the consumer must have connectivity and obtained OA permission to InSTS. Further, the consumer needs to enter into an agreement with the transmission licensee. However, it has not fulfilled these conditions.
  • Aggrieved by the action of MSEDCL, the Petitioner has filed the Petition seeking refund of OA transmission charges and asking for non levy of transmission charges for wheeling of electricity in future.

MSEDCL, on the other hand, gave the following explanation for its actions:

  • The Petitioner’s Generator and consumer are located at distance @500 km.
  • Power is wheeled from a 33 kV injection point at Dhule to 11 kV consumption end at Nagpur through InSTS network.
  • The Petitioner is using InSTS as well as distribution network for utilisation of its power under STOA.
  • The Commission’s Orders in Case No. 33 of 2007 and 156 of 2018 provides the applicability of transmission charges depending on the utilisation network when the power injection and drawal points are different.
  • Hence, MSEDCL has levied transmission charges correctly to the Petitioner in accordance with DOA Regulations.
  • Either wheeling or transmission charges will be applicable only in case of dedicated (single) transmission line from generating station upto the destination of use i.e., consumer end, only one system either distribution or transmission depending upon the voltage level is used. In all other cases, transmission as well as wheeling charges & losses are applicable if distribution system is used either for injection or drawal.

After hearing the facts of the matter, MERC noted that the provisions of the Electricity Act, 2003, make it clear that the distribution system is system of wires and associated facilities between:
a) The delivery points on the transmission lines and the consumer or
b) The generating station connection and the point of connection to the installation of the consumers.

The Commission in previous orders has made it clear that the Distribution Licensees, Transmission System User and Open Access consumers are required to pay transmission charges depending on extent of their usage of InSTS.

“An argument of the Petitioner that it is not connected to InSTS and is hence not liable to pay the transmission charges is devoid of merits. Further, the Commission does not find the merit in the submission of the Petitioner that InSTS network is not used during the OA transactions of the Petitioner especially because, the generation is directly connected to the 220/33 kV Sub Station which is a component of InSTS. Hence, the Commission is not inclined to grant the prayers of the Petitioner to: (i) refund transmission charges levied by MSEDCL and (ii) not to levy transmission charges in future,” ruled MERC.

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