VIA raises objections over proposed gross metering for solar system
   Date :07-Nov-2019
(From left) R B Goenka, Vice President of Viadrabha Industries Association; Suresh Rathi, President of the association; and Prashant Mohota, Chairman of VIA Energy Forum, at the meeting. 
Business Bureau :
Expressing resentment against the proposed draft report of MERC on solar net-metering, power consumers of the region on Wednesday said that the initiative will discourage consumers from adopting renewable source of energy. At the special meeting of the Energy Forum of Vidarbha Industries Association (VIA) held here, the consumers also said that the commission can not decide the matter through tariff petition as there is a separate regulation for net metering which shall be required to be amended. Addressing the meeting, R B Goenka, Vice President of Viadrabha Industries Association (VIA), said the commission has proposed gross metering instead of net metering for roof top solar which will result in stupendous hike in energy charges for commercial as well as residential category consumers.
As per the Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Commission’s (MERC) draft report, the consumers will have to sell the entire power generated by solar panels at his end to the distribution company and further buy it from the distribution company. “It is important to note that different rates will be applicable for buying and selling power,” he said. As per the proposed plan, the distribution company will buy power at a cheaper rate from the consumers and sell it at a higher cost fixed by the commission.
Only residential category consumers will be allowed to directly consume up to 300 units of power per months. For example, if a consumers has installed roof top panels generating 1000 units per month and he is consuming only 500 unit then he will be eligible for adjustment of first 300 units in the billing system. He will have to pay charges for next 200 units as per the applicable charges. On the other hand, the distribution company will buy remaining 500 units from the consumers at a lower price. As of now, under the net metering, the consumers are only billed for the “net” energy used each month, that is, the difference between the energy produced by the solar power system and the energy consumed by them over the monthly billing period.
As per Section 86 (1) (e) of the Electricity Act, 2003, the State Electricity Regulatory Commissions have been assigned the function of promoting generation of electricity from renewable sources of energy by providing suitable measures for connectivity with the grid and sale of electricity to any person. However, the recent steps proposed by it are contradictory in nature,” he said. Apart from this, VIA also raised objections over the proposed change in billing system. The distribution company has proposed KVAH billing instead of KWH billing saying that it is being implemented in four to five states in the country. The KVAH drawn by a consumer for the same connected load will vary depending on the voltage at consumer premises. As voltage at which power is delivered to consumers is under control of the distribution company and not consumers, it is unethical and unequitable to bill consumers as per their KVAH drawn. Vidharbha Industries Association has opposed KVAH billing on various other grounds.
VIA office-bearers said that they would submit the suggestions and objection before November 18. The meeting was called to discuss draft report of MERC for changing Solar Net-Metering on Gross basis” and “KVAH billing and its impact on electricity bill starting from Control period April 2020-21” Suresh Rathi, President of VIA; Prashant Mohota, Chairman of VIA Energy Forum; and others were among the prominent persons present on the occasion. MERC has recently proposed draft regulations for gross metering based on Forum of Regulators’ (FOR) guide lines which is open for public comments. The suggestion and comments can be submitted till November 18, 2019. The Government of India (GoI) has set an ambitious target to achieve 175 GW of Renewable Energy capacity by 2022 under the Renewable Energy Expansion Programme. Further, it has pledged to have around 40 per cent cumulative installed capacity from non-fossil fuel-based energy resources by 2030.