Regulator Rules in Favor of Captive Wind Developer, Marks Down Transmission Charges

The Andhra Pradesh Electricity Regulatory Commission (APERC) recently ruled that a wind project developer was liable to pay inter-DISCOM (distribution company) transmission charges for 8.8 MW out of the total capacity of 25.6 MW up to October 15, 2020, when the amendment to long-term open access (LTOA) was approved.

Blyth Wind Park had filed a petition requesting the Commission to direct the Transmission Corporation of Andhra Pradesh (APTRANSCO) to levy inter-DISCOM transmission charges only for 8.8 MW capacity from April 1, 2020, to May 30, 2020, and 1 MW capacity for the period of May 30, 2020, to November 6, 2020.

Background

Blyth Wind Energy owns and operates a captive wind power project of 25.6 MW capacity in Andhra Pradesh. The entire power generated from the captive power project is procured by captive users in the supply area of the Southern Power Distribution Company of Andhra Pradesh (APSPDCL) and the Andhra Pradesh Central Power Distribution Corporation Limited (APCPDCL).


APTRANSCO had entered into LTOA agreements with the wind developer on December 3, 2019, and November 6, 2020, for the transmission of electricity generated from the captive power project.

The 25.6 MW captive wind project in Andhra Pradesh was commissioned in four phases – 16 MW on September 29, 2014; 8 MW on January 2, 2015; 1 MW on April 17, 2015, and the balance 600 kW was commissioned on July 24, 2017.

The wind energy generator was first granted LTOA on November 29, 2019, to supply power to two of its consumers – SDV Steels with an allocation of 8.8 MW and 4.3 MW for Krishnapatnam Port Company.

Through a letter in April 2020, the developer had requested APTRANSCO to amend the original LTOA agreement for revised allocation and add new captive users.

The developer further said that by May 30, 2020, APTRANSCO should have communicated either that the LTOA sought could be allowed without further system strengthening or otherwise.

Subsequently, APTRANSCO executed the LTOA amendment agreement on November 6, 2020, with the developer, APSPDCL, and APCPDCL, after a delay of six months.

The developer said that it was liable to pay inter-DISCOM transmission charges only for 8.8 MW for the period from April 1, 2020, until May 30, 2020, i.e., 30 days from the date of closure of window, and for 1 MW from June 1, 2020, until November 6, 2020, i.e., the date of the amended LTOA agreement. The demand of APTRANSCO for the payment of inter-DISCOM transmission charges for 17.2 MW capacity was arbitrary and without any legal basis.

The wind energy generator further argued that if it were held liable to pay inter-DISCOM transmission charges for any capacity other than the revised capacities set out in the LTOA application, it would result in gross injustice and hardship.

Commission’s analysis

The Commission observed that the nodal agency should allow open access within 30 days from the window’s closure if it is determined that the LTOA sought can be allowed without further system strengthening. In cases where it cannot be allowed, the nodal agency should notify the applicant of the same within 30 days of the window’s closure.

The Commission noted that out of the total capacity of 25.6 MW, only 24 MW was commissioned by January 21, 2015, which preceded the date of February 13, 2015, when the new ‘Wind Power Policy 2015’ commenced. Thus, the petitioner fell outside the scope of the ‘Wind Power Policy 2015’ and consequently the amended Regulation of 2016.

Also, the state regulator added that the approval for LTOA was granted on October 15, 2020. However, the amended agreement was entered only on November 6, 2020.

“We do not find any justification for the levy of inter-DISCOM transmission charges beyond October 15, 2020. This means that the petitioner is liable to pay the inter-DISCOM transmission charges on the disputed capacity of 8.8 MW only until October 15, 2020, when the amendment to LTOA was approved,” the Commission added.

Recently, APERC, in order to simplify the short-term power procurement process, issued the ‘Terms and Conditions for Short-term Procurement and Sale of Power, Regulations, 2022.’ The regulations will apply to the three DISCOMs of the state.

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