The Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Commission (MERC) has announced open access charges for consumers in the state. These charges are applicable from September 1, 2018.

MERC fixed the open access charges in response to a petition filed by Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Co. Ltd (MSEDCL) in the matter of mid-term review for aggregate revenue requirement (ARR) of financial year (FY) 2015-16 and FY 2016-17, provisional truing-up of ARR of FY 2017-18 and revised projections of ARR for FY 2018-19 and FY 2019-20.

In its petition, MSEDCL had proposed a processing fee as well as operating charges for open access. To justify the proposed hike in open access charges, the MSEDCL in its petition stated, “As per MERC Distribution Open Access Regulation 2016, an open access consumer can avail open access from multiple generators and multiple sources. Due to this, number of applications have increased. MSEDCL has developed online system for submission of application for availing open access.”

“The number of consumers availing short term open access are more, the consumers apply every month and upload the required documents in the online system having 50 to 100 MB capacity. Thus, MSEDCL has to purchase additional storage space to save all the documents every month in the online system. A separate IT system is developed for proper operation of the online system for submission and processing of open access applications. MSEDCL has developed online system for paying the processing fees with the application. Thus, MSEDCL must pay service charges to the service provider of online payment system,” stated the petition.

While reviewing the petition, MERC was of the view that most of the above activities fall under normal activities of MSEDCL as a licensee. MERC also opined that there are a few services required to be provided by MSEDCL to open access consumers, where MSEDCL may incur some costs. The commission also noted that MSEDCL introduced various online facilities for the benefit of the open access consumers.

In its final order, the MERC approved slightly lower charges of open access than what had been proposed by MSEDCL.

Recently, in a ruling, the MERC had clarified that the nodal agency will grant medium-term open access (MTOA) or short-term open access (STOA) in the existing distribution system only if the resultant power flow can be accommodated.