Third-party sale of power allowed in Tamil Nadu

T. Ramakrishnan

CHENNAI: Third-party sale of power, a long-standing demand of industry, has become a reality in Tamil Nadu with the State Electricity Regulatory Commission formulating intra-state open access regulations.

Within the State, electricity can be transferred from one place to another on payment of certain charges. Even power produced from captive generating plants can be sold. Initially, only high-tension consumers will be allowed the facility.

At present, the Tamil Nadu Electricity Board alone is allowed to buy power.

The State Transmission Utility or the State Load Despatch Centre will act as the nodal agency, depending upon requirements of customers. But, for the time being, the TNEB performs the functions of both STU and SLDC.

According to the gazette notification issued on August 3, the open access system will be allowed in phases.

Initially, for the next six months, the permission will be given to high-tension consumers with a load of 10 megawatt and above, subject to feasibility.

After six months and before 18 months (from the date of the commencement of the regulations), the nod will be given to HT consumers with a load of five MW.

After 18 months but before December 30, 2008, the applications of HT consumers for a load of one MW and above will be allowed.

Broadly, there will be two categories of open access customers — long-term and short-term. Long-term customers are those who want to avail themselves of open access for five years or more, while the duration for short-term customers is five years and less.

But, in respect of the latter, the permission will be given for one year at a time and renewed every year.

Those who want short term need to apply to the SLDC along with a registration fee of Rs. 1,000. On receipt of applications, the SLDC has to intimate its decisions to them within 15 days.

Once the feasibility of open access is established, an agreement fee of Rs. 10,000 has to be paid by the applicants to the SLDC. Similarly, in the case of long-term applicants, the STU is the nodal agency and it has to inform its decisions within 30 days. The registration fee is Rs. 5,000 and the agreement fee is Rs. 50,000.

Besides, there are other charges to be paid by customers, long-term or short-term.

The charges include transmission/wheeling charges, surcharge, grid availability charges, reactive energy charges, scheduling and system operation charges and restoration charges.

They have to be paid to different agencies such as distribution licensees, STU and SLDC.