Gujarat Increases Additional Surcharge for Open Access Consumers to ₹0.31/kWh

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The Gujarat Electricity Regulatory Commission (GERC) has increased the additional surcharge payable by open access consumers to the state distribution companies (DISCOMs) to ₹0.31 (~$0.0038)/kWh.

The new additional surcharge will be applicable from October 1, 2022, to March 31, 2023.

Earlier, the Commission had decreased the additional surcharge to ₹0.25 (~$0.0031)/kWh for the period from April 1, 2022, to September 30, 2022. The decrease was from ₹0.69 (~$0.0085)/kWh set earlier.

The additional surcharge of ₹0.31 (~$0.0038)/kWh will apply to the consumers of four state-owned DISCOMs, i.e., Dakshin Gujarat Vij Company (DGVCL), Madhya Gujarat Vij Company (MGVCL), Paschim Gujarat Vij Company (PGVCL) and Uttar Gujarat Vij Company (UGVCL) who avail power through open access from any source other than their respective DISCOMs.

The Commission arrived at the new additional surcharge of ₹0.31 (~$0.0038)/kWh by considering the transmission and distribution (T&D) losses as 15.8% and the network-related cost paid by open access consumers through demand charges as 7.14%.

In February this year, the Tamil Nadu Electricity Regulatory Commission ruled that the additional surcharge should be levied only on the quantity of the actual drawn open access power in line with the TNERC Intra-State Open Access Regulation 2014.

States have been decreasing the additional surcharge in an attempt to facilitate the growth of open access. Punjab, Uttarakhand, and Haryana were some of the states that reduced additional surcharges in the recent past.

Last December, the Supreme Court of India ruled that captive power consumers were not liable to pay an additional surcharge under Section 42 (4) of the Electricity Act, 2003. The court said that since it would be a significant liability for DISCOMs to refund the additional surcharge collected,  the amount must be adjusted in future bills for wheeling charges.

India added 1.3 GW of new open access solar capacity in the first half of 2022, registering a growth of 97% compared to 638 MW installed in the same period last year. This is the second-highest installation figure for the six months of any year to date.

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