Nine Open Access Wind Generators Given Deadline Extension to Install Energy Meters

The Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Commission (MERC) has granted an additional period of three months to nine wind developers to complete the installation of special energy meters (SEMs) at the individual generator’s end. The initial deadline was set for December 07, 2019.

The Commission stated that the petitioners and the Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Company Limited (MSEDCL) should work in tandem and streamline so that the provisions comply within the extended timeline. The Commission also noted that during the period of the extended timeline, the distribution licensee should not deny open access to the generator on account of the non-installation of special energy meters at individual generators.

The Commission has directed MSEDCL to issue the guidelines on this matter so that there is no ambiguity on the problem.

Background


Earlier, Pragati Agencies and eight other companies had filed petitions for completing the process of installation of individual SEMs at their wind generating stations. The companies had also sought directions from MSEDCL for non-cancellation of open access permissions. As the issues in all the petitions were the same, the Commission heard them together on two hearings on November 14, 2019, and December 02, 2019.

The petitioners included Pragati Agencies, Sri Laxmi Industries, Sri Amareshwara Industries, Sridevi Trading Company, Sri Tradco company Limited, Mahabal Auto Ancillary Private Limited, Mahabal Metals Private Limited, Serum Institute of India Private Limited, and AMJ Land Holding Limited.

The petitioners had clarified that they had initiated the process of installation of individual smart meters for their windmills and were constantly pursuing the matter with MSEDCL. Due to the inordinate delay on the part of MSEDCL at every stage, there was no possibility that individual SEM could be installed before the deadline of December 07, 2019, they said.

They had also stressed on the fact that MSEDCL was compelling the petitioners to install isolators before metering. They noted that this would further delay the process of meter installation.

On the other hand, MSEDCL said it was coordinating and providing support to wind generators for the timely installation of individual SEM metering. In its submission, MSEDCL had said that the petitioners had asked for the meter specifications, and after approval of specifications by MSEDCL, they had neither paid the cost of SEM metering installation nor informed MSEDCL.

Stressing the need for the installation of isolators, MSEDCL stated that there was a need for the installation of isolators before metering at each wind generator as multiple wind generators are directly connected to the MSEDCL feeder. After the installation of individual SEMs, there would be the possibility of instances of transformer failures. Replacement of such failed equipment would lead to the interruption of the entire feeder. So, to minimize the interruption by disconnecting the faulty part of the line, installation of isolator before metering is required, argued MSEDCL.

Based on the submission made by MSEDCL and the nine petitioners, the Commission noted that there was a delay in the process for installation by both the petitioners and MSEDCL. The processes of seeking specifications of SEMs, a joint inspection of the site, approval of metering specifications, the additional estimate for the reorientation of feeders, and payment of the cost of SEMs need to be streamlined for completion of the task within the time frame. The Commission further noted that there was also a lack of timely coordination between the petitioners, MSEDCL head office, and field office.

The Commission stated that there were certain difficulties in installing the meters at the individual generators which need to be addressed and for which additional time may be required.

Considering this, the Commission decided that it was necessary to grant an additional period of three months from the initially set timeline of December 7, 2019.

Recently, the state issued a tender to procure 200 MW of wind power on a long-term basis from intra-state wind power projects. The power procured from the wind projects would help MSEDCL fulfill its non-solar renewable purchase obligation.

Earlier, MERC had directed MSEDCL to clear its outstanding dues with three wind developers in the state, including interest for delayed payment charges. The developers had filed petitions with the commission earlier this year after a dispute with MSEDCL for the recovery of their payment dues.