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Discom plans Rs1.25/unit levy on rooftop solar prosumers

Discom plans Rs1.25/unit levy on rooftop solar prosumers


Nagpur: Going against the policy of state government to promote solar power, MSEDCL has proposed to levy a surcharge of Rs1.25 per unit on solar rooftop prosumers. Prosumer is a person who produces and consumes a product.

While the discom is discouraging solar rooftops, another government body Maharashtra Energy Development Agency (MEDA) is installing solar panels atop government buildings at full steam.

The decision on the surcharge will be taken by Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Commission (MERC).

The Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Company Ltd (MSEDCL) itself has tied up for large quantum of solar power as it is cheap. It will purchase 1,000 MW for around Rs2.70 per unit against average power purchase cost of Rs4 a unit. Tenders have been floated for another 1,000 MW. Energy minister Chandrashekhar Bawankule had announced that all farm pumps would go solar by 2025 and the process has already started.

A source in the MSEDCL said that the surcharge was necessitated due to large number of high-paying consumers switching over to solar. “If such consumers continue to go solar, it will increase the tariff for farmers and lower-end domestic consumers,” he added.

Ashish Chandarana of Vidarbha Industries Association (VIA) said that MSEDCL wanted to levy wheeling charge on solar prosumers. “This is against Law of Estoppel. Prosumers have invested lakhs on solar panels under state government’s policy. At that time there was no proposal of a surcharge. MSEDCL now can’t levy a surcharge to make solar rooftop power costlier. This will cause huge loss to prosumers,” he added.

According to him, the MSEDCL couldn’t include the proposal in tariff hike petition. “It should file a separate petition for the surcharge,” he said.

Solar power consultant AP Ganguly slammed MSEDCL wondering whether it was against green energy. “Central government has set a target of generating 40,000 MW through solar rooftop by 2022. The country was supposed to add 1,000 MW in 2017-18 but managed only 500 MW. How can MSEDCL discourage solar rooftop under such circumstances,” he said.

Ganguly pointed out that MSEDCL had failed to meet its renewable power obligation (RPO) in 2017-18. “It had to buy renewable energy certificates (RECs) worth Rs99 crore from market to meet the obligation. In view of this fact, it should encourage more consumers to go solar,” he said.

TS Renu of Vidarbha Taxpayers Association (VTA) said that MSEDCL’s proposal was illogical and unethical. “Solar prosumers are saving precious coal and water. Instead of giving them bonus, the discom is penalizing them. Many prosumers had taken loans from banks and they will be unable to repay them if solar power becomes uneconomical,” he added.

Renu also said that MSEDCL purchased the surplus power generated by solar roof top prosumers at very low rates and this fact should also be taken into account.

Source: timesofindia.indiatimes
Anand Gupta Editor - EQ Int'l Media Network


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