Rajasthan DISCOMs Allowed Time Until FY 2024 to Clear RPO Backlog of 11,454 MU

The Rajasthan Electricity Regulatory Commission (RERC) recently allowed the state distribution companies (DISCOMs) to carry forward the renewable purchase obligation (RPO) shortfall from the financial year (FY) 2011-12 to FY 2019-20.

The Commission directed the DISCOMs to make an ‘all-out’ effort to meet the RPO backlog and the respective yearly targets until FY 2023-24.

The state regulator added that no penalty would be imposed on the DISCOMs for the RPO backlog accrued from FY 2011-12 to FY 2019-20.

The Rajasthan Urja Vikas Nigam Limited (RUVNL) filed a petition requesting the Commission waive the shortfall in RPO compliance.


Background

The Rajasthan DISCOMs could not meet the RPO targets from FY 2011-12. The DISCOMs attributed the failure to various unprecedented factors and the unavailability of renewable energy in the state.

In an order on November 14, 2017, the Commission had granted DISCOMs five years to make up for the RPO shortfall.

In its submission, RUVNL said it had taken steps to initiate bidding per the timeline provided for the commissioning of renewable projects. The DISCOMs in the state had also encouraged installing rooftop solar power projects in the residential sector and government buildings, which could help meet its RPO targets. They also promoted rooftop solar projects under the ‘Net Metering Program,’ under which about 250 MW of capacity was installed until January 2020.

The total backlog from FY 2011-2012 to FY 2019-2020 is nearly 11,454 MU, for the compliance of which the petitioner submitted a detailed course of action. However, the delay in commissioning projects jeopardized the DISCOMs’ compliance efforts until FY 2023-24.

RUVNL added that the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic had led to the imposition of various restrictions across all sectors, which had affected the ongoing projects. Even though the DISCOMs had tied up for renewable power, the availability of renewable power from various power purchase agreements (PPAs) and power sale agreements (PSAs) signed by DISCOMs and the solar rooftop program had been delayed.

Commission’s analysis

The Commission observed that the DISCOMs had made every effort to comply with the RPO targets. However, due to the delays arising from the Covid-19 pandemic, they would not be able to clear the RPO backlog.

The Commission, however, ruled that it would not be appropriate to waive the RPO backlog for the DISCOMs since they had not utilized the full potential of distributed renewable generation. Given the pipeline of projects and the likely growth in distributed renewable energy systems, the Commission said that the DISCOMs should be given more time for compliance. It allowed them to carry forward the RPO backlog from FY 2011-12 until FY 2019-20.

DISCOMs are directed to make all efforts to meet their RPO backlog accumulated to date along with the respective year targets given by the Commission up to FY 2023-24.

Last October, RERC had ruled in favor of the state DISCOMs in a petition demanding action against them for not achieving their RPO targets. The Commission had noted that there was no case to initiate action against the DISCOMs or impose a penalty as they had tried their best to comply with the targets.

Recently, RERC issued a draft paper to amend the RPO regulations to include the hydropower purchase obligation until the financial year (FY) 2023-24.

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