Assam Electricity Regulatory Commission Releases Regulations for Micro-grid

The Assam Electricity Regulatory Commission (AERC) has released regulations relating to the generation and supply of renewable energy from micro- and mini-grids. These regulations will apply to the state of Assam and come into force from the date the notification is published in the Assam Gazette.

The regulations cover all new and existing micro- and mini-grid projects that generate and supply electricity for consumers in Assam’s rural areas.

Within six months of the date the notification is issued, AERC will require all existing micro- and mini-grid projects to comply with the Central Electricity Authority (CEA) Regulation, 2010, regarding measures related to safety and electricity supplies, as well as CEA Regulation, 2012, which deals with the technical standards for the connectivity of distributed generation resources, as amended from time to time.

AERC said these regulations will apply to mini-grid projects with installed capacity of 10 kW to 500 kW and microgrid projects with an installed capacity of up to 10 kW. The electricity generated by the micro- and mini-grid renewable energy systems will go toward fulfilling the renewable purchase obligation (RPO).

AERC will resolve any conflict that arises between micro- and mini-grid operators and the concerned distribution company (DISCOM). It has also given the state nodal agency the power to appoint a third-party agency to verify the technical standards of primary distribution networks.

The micro- and mini-grid grid operator will be responsible for the operation and maintenance of the primary distribution network as well as the cost of the interconnection network from the micro- or mini-grid renewable energy system to the interconnection point.

According to AERC, all meters will be required to adhere to the standards and provisions specified by CEA Regulations, 2006, – which apply to the installation and operation of meters – as amended from time to time. The DISCOM will install the meters at the interconnection point for energy accounting purposes at their own cost.

The micro- or mini-grid operator will be responsible for installing a generation meter at the micro- or mini-grid project to record the amount of electricity generated, as well as meters at each of the outgoing feeders from the project. Apart from these, the operator will also have to install meters at the premises of consumers to record their electricity consumption.

AERC stated that the micro- or mini-grid operator will mutually decide on the supply tariff and the billing and payment mechanism with its consumers. This and other projects details will have to be submitted to AERC at least a month before operations commence.

Regarding the sale and purchase of electricity generated from such a project, AERC will require the operator and the DISCOM to enter into a power purchase agreement (PPA). The DISCOM will be responsible for preparing a draft PPA and submitting it to the AERC for approval within three months from the date of notification of this regulation.