MERC notifies Green Energy Open Access Regulations

The Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Commission (MERC) has notified changes to its Distributed Open Access Regulations, 2016. This measure has been taken in line with Green Energy Open Access Rules established by the Ministry of Power. According to the amendments, consumers who have a contract demand or sanctioned load of 100 kW or more, or an entity that combines multiple connections totalling 100 kW or more within the same electricity division of a distribution company (discom), will be able to purchase power from renewable sources through open access.

Additionally, captive consumers who receive power through the open access mechanism will not be subject to restrictions on the availability of power. Also, consumers are required to inform the discom of the proportionate distribution of energy produced by renewable energy projects to each connection in cases where numerous connections are formed before commencing the green energy open access.

To be eligible, consumers must commit to at least twelve-time blocks and cannot adjust the amount of power consumed during open access. Additionally, consumer with rooftop PV systems can have open access simultaneously. The Maharashtra State Load Despatch Centre and the state transmission utility will serve as nodal agency in case of short-term and medium- or long-term green energy open access, respectively.

The cross-subsidy surcharge for consumers who adopt green energy open access and purchase renewable energy from a generating project will not be more than 50 per cent of the surcharge established for the year, as per the revised regulations. This restriction will last for 12 years from the date of operation of generating project. There will be no surcharge applicable for consumers if power is procured from waste-to-energy project or if green power is used to produce green ammonia or green hydrogen. Furthermore, open access will be permitted based on the time-of-day metre for contracts with demand lower than 1 MW.