MNRE Asks State Electricity Regulators to Hear Petitions Online Amid COVID-19

The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) has requested all the State Electricity Regulatory Commissions (SERCs) to allow the online listing of petitions and hear urgent matters through video conferencing.

The Ministry’s move comes after it received a letter from renewable energy developers, requesting it to issue an advisory to all the SERCs to start online listing and hear important cases online.

In the letter, the developers emphasized the need for timely filing and disposal of petitions with the SERCs. The developers have also pointed out that any delay in relief from the SERCs will adversely affect the financial viability of their projects.

Due to the nationwide lockdown in the wake of coronavirus (COVID-19), SERCs have postponed listing and hearing of the petitions.

In the letter, the renewable power developers have cited the example of the Supreme Court, High Courts, and Appellate Tribunal for Electricity (APTEL), which have started the online listing and hearing of urgent cases through video conferencing.

In April 2020, the MNRE had issued a memorandum addressing the problems being faced by the renewable energy generating stations, especially while sending invoices for renewable energy supplied amid the COVID-19 outbreak. For regional energy accounts (REA), state energy accounts (SEA), and billing through the joint meter readings (JMR), it said that invoices are to be issued over e-mail.

Previously, it was also reported that the Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI) sent a request to all state distribution companies (DISCOMs) and agencies to allow submission of invoices digitally. SECI had then stated that the submission of digital invoices would make it feasible to release the payment to developers, which will help make their projects sustainable.

Mercom has also written about several top solar and power-related apps to help power consumers during the lockdown with various concerns.

You can track all the latest developments related to the ongoing pandemic in the renewable industry here.