APERC Directed AP DISCOMs To Acquire Consumption Charges Without Any Fixed Charges

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Andhra Pradesh Electricity Regulatory Commission (APERC) passed an order in concern with granting reliefs claimed by five petitioners against Andhra Pradesh Southern Power Distribution Company Ltd. (APSPDCL), Andhra Pradesh Eastern Power Distribution Company Limited (APEPDCL) and The Chief Engineer / IPC. The commission orders original Petitions to dismiss without costs.

The four petitioners were South Indian Sugar Mills Association (SISMA), M/s. K.C.P. Sugars & Industries Corporation Limited, M/s. Nava Bharat Ventures Ltd, M/s. EID-Parry (India) Ltd Formerly Parry Sugar Industries Ltd and M/s. SNJ Sugars and Products Ltd.

The grievance of the petitioners was that the Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs) with the respondents envisaged payment of electricity charges by the bagasse based cogeneration projects and biomass-based power projects etc., for the energy supplied by the respondents to maintain auxiliary power in the power plants in situations of non-generation of power and that the respondents have collected the electricity charges by purporting to apply Rs.11.77 ps per unit. 

South Indian Sugar Mills Associations (SISMA) claimed re-categorization for the period from 05-06-2017 to 31-03-2018. The petitioners 2. M/s. K.C.P. Sugars & Industries Corporation Limited 3. M/s. EID-Parry (India) Ltd Formerly Parry Sugar Industries Ltd 4. M/s. SNJ Sugars and Products Ltd. filed for similar relief for the period from 01-04-2018 to 31-03-2019. One other industry i.e. M/s. Navabharat Ventures Limited filed for similar relief for the period from 01-04-2018 to 31-03-2019.

The petitioners were paying the electricity charges as per the terms of the PPAs which was published in the official gazette on 06-06-2017. A separate tariff of Rs.11.77 ps per unit was fixed for the power supply extended by AP Transco / Discoms either at Low Tension (LT) or High Tension (HT) as desired by the power producer/developer for maintenance, startup operations, and lighting purposes. The respondents APSPDCL and APEPDCL settled the bills of the petitioners for the power supplied by the latter after deducting the electricity charges for the power supplied by the respondents and utilized by the petitioners applying tariff of Rs.11.77 ps per unit.

This Commission has undertaken tariff exercise for FY 2018-19 and issued Retail Supply Tariff Order for FY 2018-19 on 27-03-2018 and the said order has carved out a new category i.e., HT (II) (F) for startup power which includes maintenance and lighting purpose by fixing the tariff at the rate of Rs.11.77 ps per unit without any demand charges and minimum charges. This Tariff Order, however, gave an option for the captive and co-generation plants with their process plants being located in the same premises and having a single connection with the grid (Transco / DISCOMs) and who continuously depend on the licensees’ supply for part of their energy requirement either to continue in the existing (present) category or to be included in the new category. The petitioners alleged that despite this Tariff Order, the respondents have not chosen to issue any notice or allow the petitioners to exercise their option, but have unilaterally subjected the petitioners to the tariff of Rs.11.77 ps per unit without prior notice or intimation.

Commission has clarified that unless the option is given to the existing generators for change of category, they should not be included in the new category and that new category shall be applied to the newly established generators. The specific direction was given by this Commission to bill the existing generator already having PPA as per the clause enumerated therein from 01-04-2019, without disturbing the billing already done and payments already made under HT (II) (F). 

The Commission has directed the consumption charges for use of power for start-up operation for plant maintenance to be without any Fixed Charges and minimum charges for FY 2017-18 continue to exist.

The commission also clarified that the startup power category is intended for those generators who require an occasional and intermittent supply for start-up operations of the generating unit(s) alone. However, the Captive and Cogeneration plants with their process plants being located in the same premises and having a single connection with the grid (Transco/ DISCOMs) and who continuously depend on the licensees’ supply for part of their energy requirement may be given the option to either continue in their present category or to be included in this category. Without allowing all such generators to exercise options in this regard, the category change shall not be affected.

The Commission has instructed DISCOMs that it may give options to Captive/Cogeneration plants either to continue in the existing HT-I (A) category or to be included in new category HT/LT II (F) in the following cases: a. The Captive/Cogeneration plants are having HT service connection Agreement. b. In case the Captive/Cogeneration plants don’t have HT service connection Agreement and want to utilize the power for both in-house processing plant as well as for start-up & maintenance purpose may opt for HT-I (A) category, duly entering HT agreement in category-I (A) with required CMD by paying the necessary charges as per the procedure in vogue. Here HT category-I (A) is the Industrial general category and is applicable for (i) Industry General & Industrial colonies (ii)Seasonal Industries”.

Challa Gunaranjan learned counsel for the petitioners submitted that respondents have neither issued any bills nor the petitioners made payments and that unilaterally withholding all the amounts from out of the bills payable to the petitioners does not fall under the embargo created by the Commission in the Tariff Order for FY 2019-20. 

 This Commission concluded by stating that “This Commission is not inclined to grant the reliefs claimed and accordingly these Original Petitions are dismissed without cost”.

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