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Maharashtra: Solar players urge MERC to scrap GSC

The Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Company Ltd (MSEDCL) has proposed astronomical GSC, which if approved by the MERC, will make solar power costlier than the discom power

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Last Updated: Feb 12, 2020, 12.38 PM IST
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(This story originally appeared in on Feb 12, 2020)
CNagpur: A large number of solar equipment suppliers and manufacturers have urged Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Commission (MERC) to scrap grid support charge (GSC) proposed by MSEDCL on solar rooftop consumers.

Vanamati hall, where the commission held a public hearing on MSEDCL’s power tariff hike petition, was jam-packed on Tuesday and most of the consumers were solar players.

The Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Company Ltd (MSEDCL) has proposed astronomical GSC, which if approved by the MERC, will make solar power costlier than the discom power. The MSEDCL wants to scuttle solar rooftop, which is against central government’s policy to increase renewable energy generation.

Solar expert Ajit Ganguly, appearing on behalf of Confederation of Real Estate Developers Association of India (Credai), said that MSEDCL had arbitrarily proposed GSC on various categories of consumers ranging from Rs2.06 per unit to Rs10.49 per unit. For residential category customer, the GSC ranges from Rs4.04 per unit to Rs8.66 per unit for the year 2020-21. Such exorbitant charges will kill the nascent solar rooftop industry and will defeat the aim and policy of the central government.

The GSC will push average cost of electricity for a consumer in the range of Rs11-Rs14 per unit which is higher than the tariff proposed by the discom.

Ganguly also questioned the power purchase expenses of MSEDCL. He pointed out that there was almost Rs3,100 crore jump in the power purchase from Adani Power, while the quantum of energy purchase is only 989 million units (MU). This translates into each additional unit purchased at Rs31. MSEDCL wants to purchase 42 MU less from Emco, but the power purchase cost has gone up by Rs170 crore, he said.

Sudhir Budhey of Maharashtra Solar Manufacturers Association (Masma) said that there should not be any charge on the energy produced by solar rooftop consumers for it being captive power plants. The proposals of GSC and additional fixed charges by MSEDCL are totally against the Electricity Act, 2003. Nowhere in the country had the regulatory commission imposed GSC, he pointed out.

Mahendra Jichkar pointed out that there was a huge difference in bills of residential users consuming 100 units per month and those using 200 units. The monthly bill in the first case would be Rs433, while in the second it would be Rs1,256. He compared the rates with other states for 200 units: Chhattisgarh Rs210, Goa Rs350, Gujarat Rs743 and Telangana Rs760.

Jichkar pointed out with the help of figures that high consumption commercial consumers were being spared while steep tariff hike was being imposed on small commercial establishments.

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