West Bengal Proposes New Regulations for Open Access Power Projects

The West Bengal Electricity Regulatory Commission (WBERC) has issued the draft ‘Open Access Regulations, 2022.’

Stakeholders can submit their suggestions and comments before June 2, 2022.

The regulations will apply to any form of open access for the use of an intrastate transmission system or distribution system in conjunction with the interstate transmission lines.

Nodal agency  


The nodal agency for arranging long-term open access and medium-term open access will be the state transmission utility. The state load dispatch center (SLDC) will be the nodal agency for short-term open access.

Eligibility

Any person intending to avail open access should have existing connectivity with the transmission or distribution licensee concerned with whose system it is connected.

For long-term open access, the applicant must submit an application for connectivity along with the application seeking long-term open access.

An open access consumer having outstanding dues of any transmission licensee or distribution licensee against billing for more than a month will not be allowed to avail open access.

Allotment priority 

Long-term customers will have priority over medium-term customers and short-term customers for availing open access.

Procedure for granting long-term open access

If a person is applying for long-term open access through the interstate transmission system (ISTS), where a part of it involves the intrastate transmission system, such an application will be treated under long-term open access.

An application for long-term open access should be made not later than three years before the date from which long-term open access is sought.

Procedure for granting medium-term open access 

If a person applying for medium-term open access for the ISTS, where a part of it involves the intrastate transmission system or the distribution system under the jurisdiction of the Commission, such an application will be treated under medium-term open access.

The application for medium-term open access should not be earlier than five months and not later than two years from the last date of the month in which the application has been made.

Procedure for granting short-term open access

If a person applying for short-term open access for the ISTS, where a part of it involves the intrastate transmission system or the distribution system under the jurisdiction of the Commission, such an application will be treated under short-term open access.

The application for the grant of short-term open access should be submitted up to the fourth month, considering the month in which the application has been submitted as the first month.

Procedure for granting open access through power exchanges 

The procedure for open access through power exchanges should be as per the CERC regulations. On getting applications for short-term open access from the power exchanges through the National Open Access Registry, SLDC will give a no-objection to the applicant based on the assessment of capacity availability.

Open access agreements

An applicant who has been permitted to avail long-term open access and medium-term open access should enter into an open access agreement with the STU or a tripartite agreement with the STU and the relevant transmission or distribution licensee.

The agreement should clearly explain if there is a need to develop transmission and distribution infrastructure to operationalize open access.

An open access consumer will be eligible to simultaneously draw power in the consumer mode along with drawing power in the open access mode.

Backup power

In case of outages of generators supplying power to open access customers, the distribution licensee should provide a backup power arrangement for a maximum of 42 days in a year. The licensee will be entitled to collect tariffs under a temporary rate of charge for that consumer category.

Under-utilization of open access capacity

The SLDC may reduce or cancel the open access capacity of the customer who is frequently under-utilizing the capacity allotted. The unutilized capacity cannot be transferred in favor of another person by the open access customer.

Charges for open access

Transmission charges

Transmission charges will be expressed in ₹/MW/month for long-term open access and medium-term open access. Such charges for short-term open access will be expressed in ₹/kWh.

The Commission will determine the annual fixed cost of the transmission licensee in the tariff order in terms of tariff regulations and determine the transmission charges for long-term open access and medium-term open access in terms of ₹/MW/month.

Wheeling charges

The Commission will decide the rate of wheeling charges payable to the distribution licensee in ₹/kWh. The wheeling charges for short-term open access customers will be based on the energy in kWh considering the total extent of the corridor for the entire open access period.

Deviation settlement charges

The open access customer will submit a 24-hour day-ahead schedule for both drawal and injection of active power on a time-block basis to the SLDC as specified in the Grid Code or the tariff regulations. Deviation settlement charges will be paid in pursuance of the DSM regulations.

Cross-subsidy surcharge 

Open access customers should pay a cross-subsidy surcharge as determined by the Commission in addition to the charges used for using the transmission and distribution systems.

The Commission will set the amount of such surcharge, keeping in view the projected admitted cost of the licensee for the relevant period.

Additional surcharge

The Commission will determine the additional surcharge, which will apply only to the extent the distribution licensee demonstrates that it should bear the fixed costs toward any quantity contracted by the distribution licensee to provide connectivity to the open access customer.

Payment security mechanism

In the case of long-term open access and short-term open access, the applicant should open an irrecoverable letter in favor of the STU equal to the estimated amount of all applicable charges for two months.

Metering  

The open access customer must arrange to install ABT compliant meters at all interconnecting points. The meters will be provided at the point of injection and the point of drawal and, if required, at any interconnecting point.    

Curtailment of power

As per the provisions of the Grid Code, during the cancellation or curtailment of any power among short-term, medium-term, and long-term transactions, short-term will be curtailed first, followed by medium-term and long-term.

Recently, the Ministry of Power announced the launch of the National Open Access Registry. It is a single integrated window electronic platform accessible to all stakeholders, including open access participants, traders, power exchanges, and national/regional/state load despatch centers for electronic processing of short-term open access applications.

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