The Rajgarh Transmission Limited (RTL), a subsidiary of GR Infraprojects Limited, has filed a petition seeking an extension for the Scheduled Date of Commercial Operation (SCOD) for their transmission project. This request is made in light of several force majeure events and changes in the law that have caused significant delays in the project’s execution.
Background of the Project
RTL was chosen as the successful bidder through an international tariff-based competitive bidding process to establish the “Transmission System for Evacuation of Power from RE Projects in Rajgarh SEZ, Madhya Pradesh.” The project’s objective is to transmit power from renewable energy projects in the region. The project’s ownership, operation, and maintenance are RTL’s responsibility, and it is committed to providing transmission services to the Long-Term Transmission Customer (LTTC) of the project.
The project’s timeline was outlined in a Transmission Service Agreement (TSA) dated December 2, 2021, with a Scheduled Commercial Operation Date (SCOD) of November 29, 2023, providing an 18-month window for completion.
Challenges Faced by RTL
RTL has faced multiple force majeure challenges that have significantly affected the project’s progress. The project’s transmission line intersects with various existing 132 kV and 220 kV lines operated by the Madhya Pradesh Power Transmission Company Limited (MPPTCL). To navigate this complex scenario, RTL submitted detailed proposals for the crossing, including tower schedules, electrical clearance, and other essential information.
Unfortunately, progress was hindered when MPPTCL rejected RTL’s proposal for the type of towers to be used for the crossings. They mandated the use of specific tower types and required RTL to provide an undertaking regarding the 400 kV D/C Pachora-Bhopal line’s failure, promising to prioritize the restoration of MPPTCL lines. This delay in approval, lasting approximately 197 days, significantly impacted the project.
Additionally, RTL faced obstacles during land development for a crucial substation. The allocated land concealed hard rock that required blasting for excavation. However, RTL’s request for permission to carry out blasting work went unanswered, stalling the land development process for about 166 days.
Furthermore, RTL’s proposal for the overhead 400 kV DC Pachora-Bhopal Transmission Line, which crosses under-construction railway tracks, has not received approval from the Divisional Railway Manager, Bhopal, causing an additional delay of approximately 180 days.
In addition to force majeure challenges, RTL has encountered changes in law and scope post-bid, which they plan to address separately upon project commissioning.
Despite these challenges, RTL has been striving to meet the SCOD of November 29, 2023. However, the cumulative impact of these uncontrollable force majeure events has created a significant risk of project delay. Hence, RTL’s petition seeks a declaration of force majeure events and requests an extension of 368 days, or until the actual commissioning date, whichever comes first.
The Commission’s Response
The case was heard on October 18, 2023. The Commission recognized the ongoing force majeure events and the uncertainty surrounding the COD. Therefore, the Commission granted RTL the liberty to approach them after project completion for appropriate relief.
Additionally, RTL requested the Commission to restrain LTTCs from taking coercive actions, including invoking or encashing the Bank Guarantee, until RTL approaches the Commission for the requested reliefs after project completion. The Commission recognized the importance of maintaining the TSA’s subsistence during this interregnum and granted RTL’s request for interim protection.
In conclusion, RTL continues its determined efforts to complete the project, with the hope that the Commission will provide the necessary relief and extension once the project is successfully commissioned. This interim order disposes of the Petition, leaving the project’s future in the hands of a series of unforeseen yet compelling events.
Please find the document below for more information.