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The Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Commission (MERC) has allowed Pimpri Chinchwad Municipal Corporation (PCMC) to access power from Antony Lara Renewable Energy (ALREPL) waste-to-energy plant via open access. This exemption from cross-subsidy and additional surcharges aligns with the Electricity (Promoting Renewable Energy Through Green Energy Open Access) Rules, 2022 (GEOA Rules). MERC is adjusting its regulations to match GEOA Rules, with the latter taking precedence during any inconsistencies in the transitional phase.
Background
PCMC has granted ALREPL access to around 29 acres of land in Moshi, Pune, permitting them to establish and operate a material recovery and waste-to-energy plant with a capacity of up to 14 MW. This facility, employing Rankine technology, transforms municipal solid waste into energy to cater to PCMC’s needs. Operating under a 21-year power purchase agreement (PPA), PCMC aims to utilize the generated power at a tariff of ₹5 (~$0.061) per kWh. In a joint petition, PCMC and ALREPL have requested the Commission to temporarily adopt the GEOA Rules, replacing the state’s current open access regulations, until the Commission establishes its own rules.
In May, the Ministry of Power directed state electricity regulatory commissions to align their respective open access regulations with the GEOA Rules, prompting the petitioners to urge the Maharashtra Commission to instruct entities like MSEDCL to adhere to Government of India guidelines until state-specific ones are formulated. These petitioners, engaged in waste management, particularly waste-to-energy projects utilizing solid municipal waste, have pursued a concession agreement to reduce landfill waste while producing electricity for PCMC. Asserting that the GEOA Rules encompass waste-to-energy projects and facilitate open access to green energy without surcharges for consumers with 100 kW and above contracted demand, the petitioners have sought interim relief from the Commission in line with their primary appeals. While other distribution firms remained silent during the hearing, MSEDCL contested the petitioners’ plea, contending that relief cannot be granted until regulations are amended.
Commission’s Analysis
The Commission emphasized that Section 181 of the Electricity Act, 2003, empowers state commissions to create regulations consistent with the Act and its rules. It highlighted the Ministry of Power’s confirmation that the Green Energy Open Access Rules hold subordinate legislative status under the Electricity Act 2003, binding all stakeholders to adhere. The 1 MW threshold outlined in these rules is intended to be achieved within five years of the effective date of the Electricity (Amendment) Act, 2003, and the rules do not confine open access solely to 1 MW. The Commission also indicated its ongoing effort to align its regulations with the Green Energy Open Access Rules. While amendments will be made to the Distribution Open Access Regulations 2016 through due process, the implementation of the Green Energy Open Access Rules cannot be impeded. Contrary to MSEDCL’s stance, the Commission maintained that all parties are obliged to comply upon rule notification, noting the absence of operational challenges raised by MSEDCL or other distribution licensees. The Commission assured that any such issues can be resolved during the regulation amendment process, which it will promptly initiate, thereby granting the sought-after relief in the petition.

Source: https://merc.gov.in/wp-content/uploads/2023/08/Order-165-of-2023.pdf