The Rajasthan Electricity Regulatory Commission (RERC) has issued a draft order inviting feedback on its proposal for new business models for setting up public electric vehicle (EV) charging infrastructure.
The RERC proposed EV charging infrastructure to be set up under two models – DISCOM-owned public charging stations and privately-owned public charging stations. The Commission asked interested parties to submit their responses on or before June 29, 2020.
It said DISCOMs were allowed to set up charging stations at their own premises or any other suitable location, as required. Meanwhile, it allowed any interested private parties or investors to set up these stations while adhering to the Ministry of Power’s (MoP) and Central Energy Authority’s (CEA) guidelines and standards. It said that private charging stations could only operate upon acquiring clearance from the designated DISCOM.
It directed DISCOMs to publish a list of procedures and protocols on their website for private parties to adhere to and gave them the right to examine the same for any privately-owned charging station at any time.
The Commission further directed DISCOMs to facilitate the expansion of EV charging infrastructure by releasing connections to privately-owned stations based on priority as per the regulations. It also told them to facilitate fast or slow charging at residences and offices by adjusting the system capacity accordingly to maintain grid stability.
It ordered DISCOMs to publish the “Standard Procedures and Protocols for Charging Infrastructure” regulations on their website and to maintain a database of all public charging stations within its area of jurisdiction. The RERC additionally asked them to set up a separate EV cell to keep track of these charging stations. These EV cells are expected to monitor and facilitate these charging stations while ensuring that safety standards are maintained.
The RERC also announced incentives to public charging stations. These stations are allowed to purchase power under open access agreements. They are also allowed to set up battery charging stations after obtaining due clearances from their DISCOM, according to the Commission. They are also allowed to set up rooftop solar projects under applicable regulations.
The Commission, however, noted that while the same tariffs applicable to battery charging stations can be applied to battery swapping stations, the commission may notify a separate tariff for swapping stations in a future order. As of now, the below tariffs will apply for public charging stations for (low-tension) LT -8 and (high tension) HT-6 consumers.
LT-8 consumers include public charging stations with a maximum demand of 50 KVA, while HT-6 consumers have a maximum demand of over 50 KVA.
It added that consumers from all other categories will be charged as per the tariff applicable to their category and that they need not take a separate connection as long as the load with EV charging does not exceed the sanctioned load or demand.
If the demand exceeds the sanctioned load, consumers are directed to apply to their respective DISCOMs who will revise their contracted loads as per the state guidelines.
Additionally, the RERC directed DISCOMs to propose a capital investment plan to update its network to accommodate the charging infrastructure after discussing it with stakeholders and interested investors. It urged DISCOMs to encourage major energy companies like Indian Oil Corporation and Hindustan Petroleum Corporation to invest in these solutions along state and national highways, as well.
The Commission also asked state power utilities to implement smart charging features and smart metering facilities at all public charging stations to help manage loads and ensure long-term grid security.
With smart charging and metering in place and growth in solar applications, the DISCOM is advised to review the time-of-day hours and propose variable time differentiated pricing to avail maximum benefit of available day time power.
Recently, the Ministry of Power issued an amendment to its guidelines and standards for the charging infrastructure of EVs. The amendment has now specified that the tariff for the supply of electricity to the EV public charging stations should not be more than 15% of the average cost of supply of power. This ceiling was not given in the earlier guidelines.
Earlier, the Department of Heavy Industry invited proposals for deploying electric vehicle charging infrastructure in the country’s big and smart cities under the government’s FAME program. The Expression of Interest has been issued for inviting proposals from urban local bodies, municipal corporations, public sector undertakings (both state and central), and public or private entities in different states and cities.
Nithin is a staff reporter at Mercom India. Previously with Reuters News, he has covered oil, metals and agricultural commodity markets across global markets. He has also covered refinery and pipeline explosions, oil and gas leaks, Atlantic region hurricane developments, and other natural disasters. Nithin holds a Masters Degree in Applied Economics from Christ University, Bangalore and a Bachelor’s Degree in Commerce from Loyola College, Chennai.