Right to choose your Source of Power – Open Access

Where we stand after 11 years.

The Electricity Act 2003 (EA-2003), introduced the idea which allow power consumer to have choice to choose their power supplier from the same state or even outside the state apart from the designated DisCom of the area. This was termed as “ Open Access”, the act defines OA as “non-discriminatory provision for use of transmission lines or distribution system or associated facilities with such lines or system by any licensee or consumer or a person engaged in generation in accordance with the Regulations specified by Appropriate Commission.”

The Regulations for availing Open access have been formulated by CERC for accessing the Inter-state Transmission network; and by SERC’s for accessing the Intra-state Transmission and Distribution network in respective states.

Open Access is one of the most important features of the EA 2003 wherein, distribution companies and eligible consumers have the freedom to buy electricity directly from generating companies or trading licensees of their choice and correspondingly the generating companies have the freedom to sell to any licensee or to any eligible consumer.

However, after 11 years the Open Access still remain a mystery for most of the eligible consumers. The government support in this matter is limited and very less initiatives were taken up to educate the consumers about OA. On the other hand the DisComs are most of the time reluctant to provide clearances for OA with fear of losing their premium consumers. All this led to the uprising of many consultants/service providers which provide services regarding OA.

IndianPowerSector.com together with Power Plus Consultants , has come with a Report showcasing some of the states with snapshot of how to get OA and what are the different charges applicable. The report is a Pre-cursor to the next extensive report on Open Access market in India. The gist of the report can be summarized in the table below:

Challenge Remarks
Approvals from Govt Officials Biggest challenge in front of various solar generators and consumers is to get approvals from Govt officials of discoms and sldc’s Before applying to discoms and SLDC, a generator or consumer should know the proper procedure and application formats
Lack of Knowledge In various approval you have to deal with assistant engg., junior engg. whom has little or no knowledge of Open Access Commission should make a single window clearance system for Open Access
High Open Access Charges Some states like Punjab, Maharashtra has a very high open Access Charges which is a major roadblock in the implementation of Open Access Solar Developers should try to identify those states where the Open Access charges are low
Cross Subsidy Surcharge Some states has a high mismatch between the tariff of different category of consumers resulting in high cross subsidy surcharge Nation Tariff Policy says tariff should be in the range of +/-20% of the average cost of supply, so all states are moving towards it and gradually in future css becomes zero
Installation of ABT meter ABT meter is to be installed at respective substation of the clients but space avalabilty is biggest problems at these substations Transmission companies should develop more spacious substation seeing the growing demand of Opne Access
Independent Feeder Open Access in most states is allowed to only the consumers connected on Independent feeder but most of the substations are already overloaded in our country More capacity substation should be planned

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