Karnataka’s main power distribution company has asked 110 renewable energy developers to pay transmission charges as directed by the regulator in an order that was stayed by the state high court on a petition by seven other companies.
The directive of the Bangalore Electric Supply Co. is not addressed to the seven developers that obtained the stay on the KERC order. In the communication, seen by ET, it asked them to sign a declaration indicating their willingness to pay wheeling and banking charges.
The May 14 order by the Karnataka Electricity Regulatory Commission requires renewable energy developers to start paying “wheeling and banking charges” – charges for transmitting their power – in line with payments by conventional energy utilities. So far, solar developers had been exempt from these charges, while wind and small hydro developers paid 5% of what thermal and other developers did.
The regulator said renewable energy developers should start by paying 25% of the charges paid by conventional developers. It imposed the charges retrospectively, ordering solar developers to pay from April 2017, wind developers from October 2013 and small hydro ones from January 2015.
It argued that exemption had been granted to renewable energy developers earlier because they needed nurturing, not being able to compete with thermal power. Now, with renewable energy tariffs having fallen steeply over the past three years to levels competitive with those of conventional power, renewable developers too should start paying wheeling and banking charges.
Wind power developer Avaada, along with six other developers including Bengaluru-based Prestige Group and the Embassy Group contested the order in court and obtained an interim stay on May 25. Their main contention was that KERC had earlier maintained that there would be no change in the wheeling and banking charges paid by renewable energy developers till March 2018 and the retrospective demand for such charges violated this commitment.
Other renewable energy developers have also appealed against the order, but their petitions are pending.