CERC Issues Connectivity and General Network Access Regulations

Central Electricity Regulatory Commission (CERC) has issued the Central Electricity Regulatory Commission (Connectivity and General Network Access to the Inter-State Transmission System) Regulations, 2022.

The regulations provide a framework to facilitate non-discriminatory open access to generating companies for inter-state transmission systems (ISTS) through general network access (GNA).

Application for grant of connectivity and GNA

Applications for the grant of connectivity or grant of GNA should be made online to Central Transmission Utility (CTU) along with an application fee of ₹500,000 (~$6,430). After scrutiny, CTU will intimate the deficiencies in the application for grant of connectivity or grant of GNA within a week of receiving the application. The applicant must rectify the deficiency within one week, failing which the application will be closed, and 20% of the application fee will be forfeited. The balance will be refunded to the applicant within 15 days.


Eligibility for ISTS connectivity

Generating stations, including renewable generators, with or without energy storage systems (ESS), with an installed capacity of a minimum of 50 MW individually or with an aggregate installed capacity of 50 MW and above through a lead generator or a lead ESS will be eligible for ISTS connectivity.

Captive power projects of 50 MW and above are also eligible. So are standalone ESS with an installed capacity of 50 MW and above individually or with an aggregate installed capacity of 50 MW and above through a lead ESS or lead generator.

Standalone ESS with an installed capacity of 5 MW and above applying for the grant of connectivity to ISTS through the electrical system of a generating station that already has ISTS connectivity are also eligible.

Connectivity bank guarantee

Connectivity bank guarantee must be submitted in three parts. Applicants must furnish ₹5 million (~$64,309) for the first part. For the second part, the connectivity bank guarantee must be furnished based on the number of terminal bays. For a 132 kV terminal bay, applicants must submit a connectivity bank guarantee of ₹20 million per bay. For 220/230 kV, 400 kV, and 765 kV terminal bays, applicants must submit a connectivity bank guarantee of ₹30 million (~$385,854), ₹60 million (~$771,708), and ₹120 million (~$1.54 million) per bay, respectively. For the third part, applicants must submit a connectivity bank guarantee of ₹200,000 (~$2,572)/MW for the existing ISTS.

Final connectivity grant

Within 15 days of receiving the connectivity bank guarantee, CTU will intimate the final grant of connectivity. The intimation will contain the name of the ISTS sub-station or switchyard of the generating station where the connectivity is granted.

Within 30 days of the intimation of connection details by CTU, the connectivity agreement will be signed with the successful applicant.

The first part of the connectivity bank guarantee will be returned within 30 days of the declaration of commercial operation of total capacity by the connectivity grantee. The second and third parts will be returned in five equal parts over five years corresponding to the generation capacity, declared under commercial operation by the connectivity grantee.

Eligibility for GNA

The State Transmission Utility, on behalf of intra-State entities, including distribution licensees, drawee entities connected to an intra-state transmission system, distribution licensees, or bulk consumers seeking to connect to ISTS with a minimum load of 50 MW are eligible for GNA. Trading licensees engaged in cross-border electricity trade in the cross-border regulations and transmission licensees connected to ISTS for the drawal of auxiliary power are also eligible.

Grant of GNA

CTU will process all applications within two months and grant additional GNA based on available transmission capacity or a pro-rata basis. GNA, once granted, will remain valid until relinquished.

Eligibility for temporary GNA

Distribution licensees and bulk consumers directly connected to ISTS, buying entities connected to the intra-state transmission system, or distribution systems connected to such intra-state transmission system are eligible for temporary GNA (T-GNA). Generating stations, including renewable generators for meeting its auxiliary consumption or start-up power, captive power projects, and standalone ESS are also eligible.

Arrangement for transition

If long-term access to entities becomes effective, it will be considered part of GNA deemed to have been granted. If medium-term open access granted to entities becomes effective, GNA will be deemed to have been granted until such medium-term open access expires. Short-term open access granted per the open access regulations will be treated as T-GNA under the exigency application category.

Curtailment

When for the reason of transmission constraints or in the interest of grid security, it becomes inevitable to curtail power flow on a transmission corridor, the transactions already scheduled may be curtailed by the regional load despatch center. Transactions under T-GNA will be curtailed first, followed by transactions under GNA.

India added 513 MW of new open access solar capacity in the first quarter (Q1) of the calendar year (CY) 2022, registering a growth of 58% quarter-over-quarter (QoQ), compared to 324 MW installed in Q4 2021. The numbers were revealed in Mercom India Research’s newly released Mercom India Solar Open Access Market Report Q1 2022.

In October this year, the Ministry of Power notified the Electricity (Transmission System Planning, Development, and Recovery of Inter-State Transmission Charges) Rules 2021 to enable power utilities to access the transmission network across the country smoothly.

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