“Open Access” has become an attractive proposition to HT consumers. The consumers find sourcing electricity through exchange with third party is cheaper as compared to distribution licensee. Open access is typically defined as non-discriminatory Sale/Purchase of Electric power/Energy between two parties utilizing system, and therefore a Sale/Purchase of electricity between non-contiguous parties has to necessarily done through transmission or distribution system which interconnects between the parties. If a consumer avails open access through a third party, he has to pay the price of electricity on mutually agreed basis with the third party and apart from these, the consumer has also to pay various charges which include the Transmission charges, Wheeling charges, SLDC charges and Cross subsidy sub charges. Different states have variation in these applicable charges, however these days the short come of electricity at exchange is available at a tariff about 2.5 rs/unit, which is almost half the tariff charged by distribution licensee from HT consumers. For e.g. If a consumer is based in Tamil Nadu and he procures power from a third party at rs 2.5 /unit, he needs to pay additional charges such as Transmission charges, Wheeling charges, SLDC charges and Cross subsidy sub charges, which totals him about additional 1 rupee and the end consumer will get electricity at 3.5 per kWh as compared to grid electricity purchase through distribution licensee available at 6 rs per kwh. These days short term transactions are being runned by HT consumers through exchange and the OTC prices are in the range of rs 4-4.5 per kWh and many consumers shifting to procure power through open access using the exchange route. In fact in June 2013 the auction price of electricity gone down as rs 3.33 per kWh, which attracted many investors and this is the major motivation that consumers are gradually moving to adopt open access and energy exchange as their electricity buying and selling platform.
There are still various bottlenecks related to open access for e.g. in Punjab and Haryana the utility do not allow to source power through open access during the peak hours. A state like west Bengal have applied very high open access charges which makes short term electricity purchase through exchange unviable. In the similar fashion the state such as Gujarat has additional surcharge of rs 1.35 per kWh for sourcing electricity through open access. There is similar issue by various other states for open access. It should be noted that open access is a win-win situation to the utility as well as consumers and it allows fair pricing for sourcing electricity.
While solar and wind projects are being implemented under REC route it require that government facilitate policies which are supportive to the generators as well as consumers.
Dr. Sanjay Vashishtha and Rishikesh Muthyal