Bihar DISCOMs Liable to Pay Penalty in Case of Non-fulfillment of Solar RPO

The Bihar Electricity Regulatory Commission (BERC) has revised the draft regulations pertaining to Renewable Purchase Obligation (RPO) compliance and Renewable Energy Certificate (REC) framework implementation.

According to the new provisions, the commission may review the minimum percentage of RPO compliance depending on the situation in the succeeding years. Earlier, after achieving 85 percent of the solar and non-solar RPO compliance, the shortfall could be met by the purchase of solar and non-solar and solar RPO respectively.

The commission has also stated that if non-solar certificates are not available in a particular year, then in such cases, additional solar certificates should be purchased for the fulfillment of RPO.

The draft regulation indicates that DISCOMs will have to provide the proof of the amount of energy purchased from renewable energy sources from ensuring year in tariff/annual performance review petition. In case the distribution companies fail to fulfill the RPO, the amount of shortfall will be added to the RPO of the next year. However, this is only possible when the solar and non-solar certificates are not available in that particular year. The credit for excess purchase from renewable energy in a particular year will not be adjusted in the next year.

The new regulation states that if the distribution companies fail to purchase the minimum quantum of power from renewable energy sources despite the availability of renewable power, they will be liable to pay the penalty.

DISCOMs, in turn, have argued that it is difficult to ascertain and certify availability of renewable energy sources and their quantity, so the proposed amendment for penalty should be omitted.

Harinagar Sugar Mills Limited had requested the commission to align the RPO trajectory with that of the Ministry of Power, Government of India. However, the commission asserted that the reality of DISCOMs and Bihar Renewable Energy Development Agency (BREDA) is different from the rest of the country. Therefore, it decided to retain original RPO trajectory up to FY 2021-22 as approved by commission.

In August 2018, BERC had fixed the generic levelized tariff for power generated from solar PV for FY 2018-19 at ₹4.17 (~$0.059)/kWh without accelerated depreciation (AD). With AD, the tariff was set to be ₹3.98 (~$0.057)/kWh.