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Discoms want more time to adopt green power

According to reports, the Centre might be pushing for more renewable energy, but Delhi’s power distribution companies do not appear to be in any hurry.

While Tata Power Delhi has said in its public notice for determining the 2015-16 tariff that renewable purchase obligations (RPO) should be deferred for the next four-five years, the Reliance discoms—BSES Yamuna and BSES Rajdhani—wants it to be waived off for at least two years. All three discoms said this was critical to control rising power purchase costs and keep tariffs in check.

The scheme, which became a part of the tariff from the financial year 2012-13, makes it obligatory for the discoms to source a fixed percentage of the total power from renewable sources. The targets, which started with 3.4% in 2012-13, increased to 7.6% in 2015-16. However, the Delhi discoms have never met the targets, resulting in an accumulated RPO. Last year, too, they had made a similar request.

According to the discoms, Delhi doesn’t have adequate renewable sources. “The RPO target for Delhi, which has a fraction of the area of all other states, is higher than any other state in the next five years. This will lead to a situation where consumers of Delhi would be subsidizing the costs for other states,” claimed a source.

The BSES discoms said they had invited bids to procure renewable energy at competitive rates, “so that it doesn’t unduly burden the consumers”. Immediate implementation of RPOs, it said, will increase the tariff as power purchase cost is the main component of retail tariff here. “We want to implement it after two years so that it does not add to the consumer tariff as prices of renewables are expected to become competitive by then”.

Tata Power Delhi said it would start getting solar power by 2018-19. “Purchasing renewable energy does not lead to any extra flow of power to the utilities and becomes a huge cost factor”, said an official.

Environmentalists, however, have urged DERC not to accept the demand. “Calling renewable energy expensive is an age-old excuse. Solar power now costs Rs 7.5-8.5 per unit. It’s comparable with imported coal power; even domestic conventional power costs Rs 4.5-6.5 per unit. Discoms should embrace renewable energy now so that once fossil fuel becomes expensive, they can quickly shift to solar and wind resources”, said Abhishek Pratap, climate and energy campaigner, Greenpeace India.

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