Andhra Pradesh

APERC asks NTPC to explore reduction in solar power tariff


Almost upholding the argument that NTPC quoted "ïnflated" tariff of Rs. 6.16 per kwh for its solar power, the Andhra

Pradesh Electricity Regulatory Commission (APERC) has asked the public sector power corporation to explore the possibility of reducing it.

After hearing submissions made by consumer activists, experts, NTPC and AP power distribution companies (Discoms), APERC chairman G. Bhavani Prasad on Saturday wanted NTPC’s counsel G.

Ramachandran to discuss the tariff issue with the management and see how best concessions can be extended to the discoms. He has been asked to present NTPC’s views on the matter at the next hearing on December 5.

“We have to do a balancing act of not killing the project and yet seeing that the discoms and consumers do not suffer,” Mr. Prasad observed.

The tariff quoted in the power purchase agreement (PPA) between

NTPC and AP discoms for purchase of solar power from stage-I of the

former’s 250 MW Ultra Mega Solar Power Project, which is coming up at N P Kunta in Anantapur district, has become the bone of contention going by their respective written submissions made before the commission.

During the public hearing on Saturday too, NTPC and others took contrasting positions. NTPC stuck to its known stand, as presented by

Mr. Ramachandran, that the tariff determined by the Central Electricity Regulatory Commission (CERC) should not be “redetermined” by a state commission, APERC. It should be treated as promotional tariff.

Countering him, counsel for the AP discoms, P. Siva Rao, said the CERC decision was not acceptable. Mr M. Balasubramanyam, representing independent solar power producers, argued that the

viability gap funding (VGF) was not taken into account while fixing the tariff at Rs. 6.16 per kwh. The provision of VGF for NTPC roughly worked out to Rs. 1 per kwh and the tariff could have been easily brought down to Rs. 5.25 per kwh.

Mr M. Venugopala Rao, representing the Centre for Power Studies who was the first to raise questions over NTPC’s “inflated” tariff, said if there was competitive bidding it could have been brought down to even Rs. 4.63 per kwh as was the case with SunEdison of the US. SunEdison quoted this tariff in competitive bids invited by NTPC for setting up a 500 MW solar project at Ghani Solar Park in Kurnool district.

He said the tariff exposed the double standards of NTPC as it goes in

for competitive bidding as purchaser of power but prefers the MoU route

when it turns into a seller of solar power. He wondered how NTPC could invoke CERC when the PPA has not gone to it and quoted a Supreme Court judgement to counter the public sector’s argument that APERC cannot re-determine the tariff.

Mr. Rao also found fault with NTPC supplying solar power at the interconnection point at 33 kv, imposing avoidable additional burdens of transmission charges and losses on the discoms and their consumers.

In contrast, SunEdison would be supplying the power at interconnection point at 220 kv.

We have to do a balancing act of not killing the project and yet seeing that the discoms and consumers do not suffer, says

APERC chief

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Printable version | Jan 23, 2020 1:51:08 PM |

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