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MSEDCL suggests theoretical GSC for solar roofing

Nagpur: Even as customers on the solar rooftop welcomed the relief Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Commission (MERC) offered them, MSEDCL dropped a bombshell. It has introduced charges for promoting astronomical grids which will make solar power more costly than its own.

It seems the discom is hell-bent on scuttling the state’s nascent solar market. MERC will have to withdraw the petition to save users of solar energy once again.

MERC had recently rejected the petition of the discom to make fixed billing mandatory, rather than net metering. However, it had allowed MSEDCL to charge grid support charge (GSC) for consumers loading over 10 KW.

The discom proposed GSC ranging from Rs 4.46 per unit to Rs 8.66 per unit for domestic consumers, between Rs 5.06 and Rs 8.76 per unit for commercial consumers, and for industrial consumers between Rs 3.60 per unit and Rs 4.08 per unit.

A senior official at MSEDCL acknowledged that if MERC approved these charges it would make solar rooftop power more costly than the discom tariff.

In its petition submitted to MERC for mandatory net billing, MSEDCL claimed that a loss of Rs 224 crore has been incurred so far. In addition, solar rooftop load rose from 20.44 MW in 2016-17 to 288.80 MW in 2018-19. The company feels it will have to increase the tariff for the remaining customers if paying consumers to go out of its net.

The discom conveniently forgets that solar power on the rooftop is only 0.3 per cent of its total purchase of electricity. Consumers of the solar rooftop generated 330 million units (MU) in 2018-19 versus 1.2 lakh MU purchased from it.

More specifically, MSEDCL can not meet its Renewable Solar Purchase Obligation (RPO) goal. In 2017-18, it was able to meet just 40 per cent of its solar RPO goals.

Image result for solar rooftop nagpur

MSEDCL itself receives no response to its offer to purchase solar power. It had recently floated a tender to purchase 1,350 MW but only one generator received a 5 MW bid.

On the other hand, MERC has increased MSEDCL’s solar target from 2.5% in 2019-20 to 13.5% in 2024-25. This rise has been opposed by MSEDCL and told MERC that it is unlikely.

Solar expert Ajit Ganguly, commenting on the GSC, said, “MERC had allowed MSEDCL to levy GSC so it would not incur any damage. Nevertheless, the proposed changes are so high that between Rs 14 and Rs 15 per unit would cost solar power. This is ridiculous. No other country state has done this. “An industrialist said on anonymity condition,” MSEDCL wants to put the new government in trouble. Because of high power tariffs, companies find it difficult to thrive in the City. Solar was the only option but MSEDCL wants to make it unviable. ”Grid support charges for domestic consumers Units————————-Charges (Rs/unit) 101-300————-4.46 301-500————–7.06 500 +————————8.66

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