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Tribunal sets aside TNERC order on wheeling, transmission charges for wind energy

According to reports, in a move that would bring cheer to wind power generators in Tamil Nadu, the Appellate Tribunal for Electricity (APTEL) has set aside the ‘banking’ and ‘wheeling and transmission charges’ prescribed in the tariff order of the Tamil Nadu Electricity Regulatory Commission (TNERC).

Wind power generators are allowed to supply any surplus electricity they have during windy months and take back the power during non- windy months.

For this, they have to pay ‘banking’ charges. These charges used to be 5 per cent of the electricity supplied by them prior to the TNERC’s tariff order of July 31, 2012. The tariff order revised the charges to 94 paise per kWhr. This worked out to about three-fold increase in value terms.

Several wind power generators appealed to APTEL against (these and several other features) of the order.

In its judgment, the Tribunal observed that during the previous wind tariff order of March 2009, TNERC itself had said that increasing banking charges from 5 per cent to 15 per cent, as was sought, was “too radical”. “This decision would squarely apply to this case also,” APTEL said, setting aside the 94 paise banking charges given in the tariff order of July last year. It said that the method by which the 94-paise rate was arrived at (the difference between the national average wind purchase and the tariff paid by Tamil Nadu to generators) is “not proper”.

On transmission and wheeling charges, the Tribunal observed that it had in a previous order asked TNERC to “re-determine” the charges.

Expressing happiness over the order, K. Krishnakumar, Managing Director, Orient Green Power Ltd (one of the appellants), observed that the “contention of the industry had been upheld.”

Dr K Venkatachalam, Adviser, Tamil Nadu Spinning Mills Association (another appellant), noted that the benefits to the industry would be known only when TNERC re-works the charges and comes up with fresh ones. He, however, said that Tamil Nadu Spinning Mills Association (TASMA) had prayed for setting aside of the entire tariff order, which has not been done. Consequently, TASMA would appeal to the Supreme Court against the tribunal order, he said.

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