The West Bengal Electricity Regulatory Commission (WBERC) has published amendments to the cogeneration and generation of electricity from renewable sources regulations 2020.
The Commission has invited comments and suggestions from various stakeholders by September 25, 2020. These will come into force on the date of their publication in the Official Gazette.
The renewable purchase obligation (RPO) targets for distribution licensees, captive power project owners of at least 1 MW, and open access consumers is given below:
The obligation will be on the total consumption of electricity, excluding consumption met from hydropower sources other than small hydro.
According to the amendment, the solar RPO compliance should be 85%; the remaining shortfall can be met through non-solar sources beyond the specified non-solar RPO. Similarly, non-solar RPO compliance should be 85% and above; the remaining shortfall can be met by excess solar energy.
The notification states that the energy withdrawal by any open access customer through the purchase of any renewable energy source above its RPO will be considered for meeting the RPO of the distribution licensee.
The power generated by the consumer from rooftop projects under net-metering or net billing (gross metering) arrangement will also be considered for meeting the RPO of the distribution licensee.
A new clause has been added to the amendments. It states that the distribution licensee may purchase energy from a conventional fossil-fuel-based cogeneration project located in its area of supply. However, the purchase of electricity from the fossil fuel-based cogeneration project would not qualify for the fulfillment of RPO.
The notification further states that solar projects can be installed for injecting power into the distribution system of a licensee by any eligible consumer in its premises:
- Provided that the total installed capacity in such premises does not exceed the sanctioned load (in kW) or contract demand (in kVA) of the consumer.
- The eligible consumers under the domestic category up to sanctioned load demand of 6 kW and all eligible consumers under the agriculture category may set up solar projects under the net-metering arrangement.
- Provided that eligible consumers, other than the domestic category having contract demand more than 6 KW and agriculture category, may set up solar projects only under the net billing (gross metering) arrangement.
The Commission has added a new net metering schedule, which states that the accounting of electricity exported and imported by the eligible consumer will become effective from the date of notification of these regulations or date of connectivity of the solar generating system with the distribution network, whichever is later.
Further, if any excess energy injected from the rooftop solar sources is more than 90% of the consumption of energy from the licensee’s supply in each billing period, it will be carried over to the next billing period within that year.
Also, slab tariffs will be applicable for the net energy supplied by the licensee in a billing period if the power provided is more than the injected energy by the rooftop solar sources.
At the end of the year, if the total energy supplied by the licensee to the consumer is found to be less than the energy injected, the licensee would not pay any charge to the consumer for that net energy injected.
Regardless of the availability of excess electricity with the eligible consumer during any billing period, the consumer will continue to pay all other charges, such as demand charges and government levy.
Regarding the net billing (gross metering) schedule, the Commission noted that the distribution licensee should enter into a power purchase agreement at a generic tariff to be determined by the Commission. The tariff stipulated in the PPA will be constant for the entire duration of the agreement. Also, the distribution licensee should procure the quantity of electricity generated by the solar project.
Recently, in a ruling, WBERC had said that any power purchased from fossil fuel cogeneration projects would not be counted for RPO compliance.
In April this year, considering the economic disruption caused amid the Coronavirus pandemic, West Bengal had issued an order for the late payment surcharge to be charged by the generating companies and transmission licensees. The Commission had noted that if any delayed payment (beyond 60 days) by the DISCOMs to the generating companies fell between March 24, 2020, and June 30, 2020, the DISCOMs should make the payment with a reduced rate of late payment surcharge at 1% per month.
Rakesh is a staff reporter at Mercom India. Prior to joining Mercom, he worked in many roles as a business correspondent, assistant editor, senior content writer, and sub-editor with bcfocus.com, CIOReview/Silicon India, Verbinden Communication, and Bangalore Bias. Rakesh holds a Bachelor’s degree in English from Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU). More articles from Rakesh Ranjan.