CERC Changes Duration of Long-Term Access and Medium-Term Open Access for Power Projects

The Central Electricity Regulatory Commission (CERC) has released the sixth amendment CERC (Grant of Connectivity, Long-term Access and Medium-term Open Access in Inter-State Transmission and related matters) Regulations 2017. Under the new regulations:

  • Long-term access refers to the right to use the inter-state transmission system (ISTS) for a period exceeding seven years.
  • Medium-term open access refers to the right to use the ISTS for a period equal to or exceeding 3 months but not exceeding 5 years.

Previously, the CERC had defined long-term access referred to the right to use ISTS for a period exceeding 12 years but not exceeding 25 years and medium-term open access referred to the right to use ISTS for a period exceeding three months but not exceeding three years.

The CERC has also regulated that the start date of the medium-term open access will not be earlier than five months and not later than two years from the last day of the month in which applications have been submitted.

The changes in the durations of long-term and medium-term open access have been because of varying demand and prices coupled with the financial situations of DISCOMs (distribution companies), procurers rely on short- and medium-term power purchases to meet demand, stated a CERC official. An increase in such transactions is bound to put stress on the existing infrastructure, hence the change in duration, added the CERC official.

One of the other amendments to the CERC regulations states that dedicated transmission lines from power generation sources (projects) to the pooling station of the transmission licensee must be developed, owned and operated by the power generating developer. In the case of a thermal project of 500 MW or more, hydro or renewable project of 250 MW or more, the Central Transmission Authority will plan to make sure transmission lines will not exceed 100 km from the project to the nearest substation.

The transmission charges for these dedicated lines will be borne by the power generating entity from the date of COD to the date of operation. Once operational, the transmission lines will be included in the POC pool and payment of transmission charges for the transmission lines, as governed by CERC regulations.

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