Maharashtra Commission Denies Renewable Developers Grace Period for Regulatory Delays

The Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Commission (MERC) has ruled against 28 renewable energy developers in a common order regarding the Maharashtra State Load Despatch Centre’s (MSLDC) non-compliance of the MERC’s directives.

The Commission rejected the appeals of all the 28 petitioners seeking a trial or grace period to assess the challenges faced while complying with the provisions of the MERC (Forecasting, Scheduling, and Deviations Settlement for Solar and Wind Generation) Regulations, 2018 (F&S regulations).

The developers had filed petitions with the Commission asking for an additional trial period post the implementation of the regulations during which no penalties would be imposed. They said that they were unable to avail of the six-month trial period promised by the Commission in its order dated September 30, 2019, due to the MSLDC’s delay in issuing the amended procedure.

In their petitions, the developers also said that there was a lack of clarity regarding the calculation of DSM charges at the state periphery. One of the petitioners explained that the data requirements for the calculation of deviation charges and deviation settlement mechanism (DSM) charges at the state periphery, were not provided by the MSLDC, leading to difficulties in calculating the charges for renewable generators. They also added that there was difficulty in collecting metering data by the qualified coordinating agencies (QCA).


In response, the MSDLC argued that there was no non-compliance on its side while issuing the amended procedure and that the time taken was justified. It said that the process required a lot of time to consult stakeholders, formulating amendments, addressing concerns, approvals, among others.

Regarding the petitioners’ contention about data and calculation difficulties, it said that all relevant data had been collected for the six months between July 1, 2019, and January 5, 2020, without any commercial impact. It noted that pooling substation (PSS)-wise, block-wise, and QCA-wise weekly deviation account statements, including deviation charges and state periphery impact, have been calculated and uploaded on MSLDC’s website.

In its analysis, the Commission said that it did see a need to provide an additional trial or grace period on account of delay in registration by the petitioners. It further noted that although there has been clarity regarding the requirement since December 2018, the petitioners did not act on time.

It also noted that all stakeholders including the MSLDC, state transmission utility (STU), and the MERC DSM working group have put in all due diligence to implement the F&S framework and that a mere delay in notifying the amended procedure would not be considered as non-compliance to the Commission’s directives.

It subsequently ruled that the petitioner’s contentions about the MSLDC’s non-compliance cannot be sustained.

In its final order, the Commission rejected the developers’ request for an additional trial/grace period for the implementation of the F&S regulations.

It further directed the DSM Working Group to continue scrutinizing the impact of the state periphery charges and the requirements of the amended regulations. It asked the MSLDC to support the working group and provide it with all necessary data to undertake this analysis.

It added that based on the outcome of the analysis of the DSM Working Group, it would decide on how to deal with the renewable energy DSM state periphery charges already collected and to be collected in the future by the MSLDC through its bills.

Recently, the Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Commission rescheduled the implementation of its deviation settlement mechanism (DSM) regulations from June 1, 2020, to October 5, 2020.

Last year, MERC exempted renewable energy qualified coordinating agencies (QCAs) for meter reading, data collection, and communication from paying scheduling and forecasting charges. However, the initial corpus that QCAs must deposit remains unchanged.

 

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