Power Generators Get More Time to File Tariff Petitions Amid COVID-19 Outbreak

The Central Electricity Regulatory Commission (CERC) is allowing additional time for the power generators to file tariff petitions as refipef from the disruption caused bo the Coronavirus pandemic.

The Commission has relaxed the provisions and permitted the generating companies to file the tariff petitions along with the truing up petitions for the 2019-24 period by June 30, 2020, where tariff orders for 2014-19 have been issued.

The Commission, however, made it clear that in case of existing generating stations or existing transmission assets, where final orders for the 2019-24 period are yet to be issued, the filing of tariff petitions for truing up of tariff for the 2014-19 period and the determination of the tariff for the period will be governed by the directions in the order dated October 28, 2019.

Earlier, some of the generating companies like the National Thermal Power Corporation of India (NTPC) and National Hydroelectric Power Corporation (NHPC) had pointed out that the tariff petitions for the period 2019-24 for some of its generating stations are required to be filed during the months of Aril 2020 and May 2020.

They pointed out that due to the outbreak of COVID-19 and the subsequent lockdown by the central government for 21 days to stop the spread of the pandemic, their offices are closed, and the filing petitions within the due dates during April 2020 and May 2020 is difficult.

They added that the audit of tariff filing forms could only be possible once the lockdown is lifted which prompted the request for a 2 month extension to file the tariff petitions.

Recently, the Ministry of Power issued a clarification stating that the DISCOMs are expected to deposit letters of credit (LoCs) for 50% of the cost of power they want to be scheduled. In comparison, the remaining 50% will have to be paid within 45 days of the presentation of the bill or as specified in the power purchase agreement (PPA). If the payment is not made as specified, the late payment surcharge will apply.

Recently, the CERC reduced the rate for late payment surcharge (LPS) payable by distribution companies. The LPS is now reduced to 12% per annum from the earlier 18% if the due date falls between March 24, 2020, and June 30, 2020.

Previously, Mercom had reported that the Ministry of Finance (Department of Expenditure Procurement Policy Division) had issued a clarification that Coronavirus will be covered in the force majeure clause and should be considered as a case of natural calamity. Further, the ministry has stated that this clause can be invoked wherever appropriate.