Bihar Issues Draft Open Access Regulations for 2018

The Bihar Electricity Regulatory Commission (BERC) has issued draft regulations pertaining to intrastate open access for 2018.

The regulations are set to apply to open access customers that use the intrastate transmission and distribution systems. BERC has scheduled a public hearing on the draft regulations for March 20, 2018. The regulations will come into force when they are published in the official gazette.

Under the proposed regulations, any consumer with a load of 10 MW or above and any project with a capacity of 10 MW and above will be eligible to obtain intrastate transmission system connectivity. Projects with a capacity that is less than 10 MW would also be eligible to obtain distribution system connectivity.

Bihar issued its last set of regulations in 2006. BERC’s new regulations were announced after the agency observed that the existing regulations were not self-explanatory and lacked clarity in matters of open access.

Power generating projects, captive projects, and consumers with a capacity of 1 MW and above will be eligible for open access to the intrastate transmission system and network upon payment of charges fixed by the Central Electricity Regulatory Commission (CERC). Applicants will be required to apply to the state transmission utility (STU) for open access and the utility will reply within 60 days of receiving the application.

If connectivity to the intrastate transmission network is granted for a power generating project or a captive project by an entity other than the STU, then a tripartite agreement will have to be signed by the STU, the applicant, and the entity (any other transmission agency).

Medium-term (five years) and short-term open access will be allowed if the power generated can be accommodated by the existing system. For long-term (seven years) open access, the applicant must submit a letter of consent from the concerned distribution company (DISCOM) to the state load dispatch center (SLDC) which will then give its consent to the regional load dispatch center (RLDC).

BERC has mandated that a nodal agency cannot reject an application for open access without first hearing the applicant’s case. If the applicant still faces trouble after the hearing, he or she can approach BERC for redressal of the issue.

BERC said DISCOMs will receive first preference during the allotment of open access capacity, followed by long-term access, medium-term access, and short-term open access applicants.

No transmission charges will be payable for renewable energy projects like wind and solar for open access.

Recently, Mercom reported that BERC had also released a draft document for rooftop net metering regulations in the state.

According to Mercom’s India Solar Project Tracker, cumulative installed solar capacity in Bihar is 110 MW.

Saumy Prateek Saumy is a senior staff reporter with MercomIndia.com covering business and energy news since 2016. Prior to Mercom, Saumy was a copy editor at Thomson Reuters. Saumy earned his Bachelors Degree in Journalism & Mass Communication from the Manipal Institute of Communication at Manipal University. More articles from Saumy Prateek.