Additional Surcharge for Open Access Power Consumers in Punjab Reduced to ₹1.10/kWh

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The Punjab State Electricity Regulatory Commission (PSERC) has set an additional surcharge of ₹1.10 (~$0.014)/kWh for full open access consumers and partial open access consumers beyond their contract demand within the area of supply of the Punjab State Power Corporation (PSPCL).

The Commission has also set an additional surcharge of ₹0.70 (~$0.008)/kWh for partial open access consumers to avail power up to their contract demand maintained with the distribution licensee.

The additional surcharge will be applicable from April 1, 2022, to September 30, 2022.

The additional surcharge applicable from October 2021 to March 2022 was ₹1.22 (~$0.016)/kWh for consumers to avail of open access beyond their contract demand with the distribution company (DISCOM). The additional surcharge for partial open access consumers to avail of power up to their contract demand was ₹0.88 (~$0.012)/kWh.


PSPCL had filed the petition for determination of applicable additional surcharge from April 1, 2022, to September 30, 2022, to be levied on the open access consumers receiving the supply of electricity from sources other than PSPCL.

Background

PSPCL had submitted detailed data, including hourly-based (month-wise) data for the total availability, total scheduled power, and total surrendered power for the corresponding period of the previous year for the computation of the applicable additional surcharge.

It had adequate generating capacities available to meet the entire power demand of the consumers of PSPCL, including the open access consumers during the relevant period.

On March 31, 2022, the Commission had allowed continuing the additional surcharge of ₹1.22 (~$0.016)/kWh provisionally as determined earlier for the period from October 1, 2021, to March 31, 2022, until the final order in the present petition was passed.

The Ministry of Power issued the ‘Electricity (Promoting Renewable Energy Through Green Energy Open Access) Rules, 2022’ in June this year. Regarding the ‘Green Energy Rules,’ PSPCL said that the procedures under the Green Energy Rules and the regulations had not been framedTherefore, the question of applicability of the Green Energy Rules did not arise.

Commission’s analysis

The Commission observed that to meet its obligation to supply power, PSPCL had installed and contracted adequate generation capacities from various sources, and there was an obligation to bear fixed costs consequent to such contracts.

Since the additional surcharge is payable on the energy consumption measured at the consumer end, the Commission decided to consider the per unit fixed cost liability of power at the consumer end.

The Commission noted that partial open access consumers availing open access upto their sanctioned contract demand were also paying fixed charges to the licensee.

The state regulator noted that full open access consumers and partial open access consumers availing open access above their contract demand do not pay any fixed charges. It was prudent to work different rates of additional surcharge for different consumers depending on whether they were paying the fixed charges to the distribution licensee.

Also, PSPCL worked out the additional surcharge at ₹0.70 (~$0.008)/kWh for open access consumers within the contract demand maintained with PSPCL and ₹1.10 (~$0.014)/kWh for full open access without any contract demand and partial open access over the contract demand.

The Commission observed that the revised cost of generation considered by PSPCL was based on the actual data of 1H of FY 2021-22. Hence, the Commission accepted the fixed cost from central generating stations submitted by PSPCL while working out the fixed cost of generation.

The new additional surcharge of ₹1.10 (~$0.014)/kWh set by the Commission marks a decrease of nearly 10% from the previous figure of ₹1.22 (~$0.016)/kWh for open access consumers beyond their contract demand. For partial open access consumers within the contract demand, the additional surcharge of ₹0.70 (~$0.008)/kWh represents a reduction of 20.4% from ₹0.88 (~$0.012)/kWh.

The reduction in additional surcharge is an attempt to facilitate the growth of open access in the state. In the recent past, many states have reduced additional surcharges for open access consumers, which bodes well for the future of open access in the country.

India added 513 MW of new open access solar capacity in the first quarter of the calendar year 2022, registering a growth of 58% quarter-over-quarter, compared to 324 MW installed in the previous quarter. Installations increased by 22% compared to 422 MW in Q1 2021.

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