Maharashtra Requests MERC to Discard Draft Regulations on Net-Metering

Chandrasekhar Bawankule, Maharashtra energy minister, has requested the Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Commission (MERC), to discard the proposed draft regulations on rolling back net-metering in the state and continue with the previous regulations until the state’s target of 4.7 GW of renewable energy installations is achieved.

The draft regulations state that the state of Maharashtra could go back to gross metering, thus rolling back net metering for all segments except residential.

According to the minister, the draft regulations will undermine the progress of Maharashtra and discourage the use of solar energy, and “costly electricity” will increase the prices of all products.

In a letter written to the chairman of the MERC, Bawankule has mentioned that the Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME),  general public, industries, and institutes as well as government bodies, have apprised him about the “negative effects” of the proposed draft regulations “which will undermine the progress of Maharashtra”.

Expressing his concern over the regulations, Bawankule  said, “Maharashtra will not be able to achieve its solar mission targets; people will be discouraged to use renewable energy producing systems for their captive purpose; discouraged to shift to electric vehicles; large power sensitive, and mass employment generating industries will shift to neighboring states which have conducive renewable energy policy causing mass unemployment in the state.”

According to him, the proposed regulations will also lead to an increase in the state’s carbon footprints “by being more dependent on fuels…”

Recently, Mercom had reported that the MERC’s draft regulations stated that all categories other than the residential category might set up the renewable energy generating system “only under the net billing arrangement.”

Under the “Net Billing Arrangement,” the rooftop solar installer will be purchasing power at a higher cost but selling electricity at a lower price to the distribution company (DISCOM).

Net metering was introduced in India as a measure to make distributed renewable energy more accessible and economical for electricity consumers across the country.

Image credit: BELECTRIC