The Haryana Electricity Regulatory Commission (HERC), in a recent order, rejected the review petition filed by Haryana Power Purchase Center (HPPC), relating to the tariff determination for a 1.2 MW poultry litter-based biogas project developed by Mor Bio Energy.

HPPC had filed a petition seeking review of the Commission’s order determining tariff as per the normative values specified in the HERC Regulations, 2017, along with project-specific parameters.

Background

HPPC, in its submission, had argued that the Commission had erred in allowing operation and maintenance (O&M) expenses as per the norms specified in the HERC’s Tariff Regulations, 2017.  As per the regulations, the standard fuel consumption was allowed at 5.35 kg/kWh, far above the price of 3 kg/kWh.


The DISCOM had further argued that the fuel cost had been erroneously allowed at ₹685(~$9.18)/MT, which should be allowed at ₹570(~$7.64)/MT based on the fuel cost of poultry litter-based power project decided by the Commission.

Mor Bio Energy had submitted that there were no errors in the order of the Commission to exercise review jurisdiction. The actual costs were more than the expenses allowed by the Commission in its order dated September 9, 2020, based on the norms specified in the HERC Regulations, 2017.

The biogas generator submitted that as per the detailed report submitted by the Haryana Renewable Energy Development Agency (HAREDA), the O&M expenses were higher than allowed by the Commission. Also, the Commission had approved the standard fuel consumption at 5.35/kWh, and as per the committee constituted by HAREDA and HPPC, the standard fuel consumption was fixed as 7.7 kg/kWh.

Further, the company added that standard fuel consumption could be calculated as 7.96 kg/kWh per the detailed project report submitted earlier. However, the Commission had approved the same at 5.35 kg/kWh. Also, the company stated that in poultry litter, moisture content was natural, due to which the weight of the raw materials fed into the digester increases. Therefore, the issue of moisture and solid content variation raised by the review petitioner was not relevant.

Commission’s analysis

The Commission observed that as all the issues raised were appropriately dealt with by the Commission while passing the order, it was not fair for the petitioner to dispute without identifying the errors or bringing new facts that were not available during passing the order.

Also, the issue raised by the applicant was that the actual O&M expenses incurred were more than the expenses approved by the Commission, in its order dated September 7, 2020. Regarding the approval of standard fuel consumption at 5.35 kg/kWh, as against the norms of 3 kg/kWh specified in the HERC Regulations, 2017, the Commission said that it had already discussed the issue in detail in its order that the specified norm of 3kg/kWh was generic and not specific to poultry litter-based biogas power projects.

The Commission observed that it had approved the rate of 5.35 kg/kWh, i.e., the average of norms specified in HERC Regulations, 2017, and the actual SFC recorded by the inspection committee was 5.35 kg/kWh.

The Commission noted that in the garb of invoking review jurisdiction of this Commission, the petitioner sought reconsideration of the issues involved in the present case. The order against which the petitioner had sought review had not been shown to suffer from any error or irregularity.

The state regulator observed that it was clear that apart from a re-examination of the issues, no review was permissible except in cases where the matters requiring review fell within the previously unavailable fact, secondly, an error apparent on the record, and thirdly, any other reason.

Also, HERC stated that the petitioner had neither been able to establish the discovery of a new fact that was not in the Commission’s knowledge nor any error apparent on the face of the record. As far as the third statutory requirement for review is concerned, the Commission said it was conscious that the earlier order contained sufficient reasons to justify the conclusions arrived at. It noted that there were sufficient reasons for the Commission to pass the earlier order.

In 2018, HERC had issued an order amending the terms and conditions to determine tariffs from renewable energy sources, renewable purchase obligation, and renewable energy certificates.

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