Henceforth all new intra-state transmission systems in Maharashtra costing Rs 200 crore or more will be implemented by state transmission utility (STU) through tariff-based competitive bidding (CB) in accordance with the competitive bidding guidelines notified by the central government from time to time. The Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Commission (MERC) on Friday released a draft MERC (Multi Year Tariff) (First Amendment) Regulations, 2022 seeking suggestions and objections from the stakeholders. The inherent benefit of tariff-based CB mode of development is that it has encouraged private sector participation which has resulted in releasing the government finances for more widespread deployment in priority sectors.
According to the draft, the threshold limit will be applicable for all new intra-state transmission systems for which approval is yet to be accorded by the MERC (excluding the projects which application for in principle approval is already submitted to the MERC and the same is under its consideration) or MERC’s approval is not valid or approval cancelled through tariff-based CB.
‘’In case the STU (Maharashtra State Electricity Transmission Company limited) intends to implement any intra-state transmission system above the threshold limit through cost plus approach under section 62 of the Electricity act, due to some specific reasons such as project is of critical nature (transmission system being developed for Defence, Railways, Airport) or the project may led to ownership or interface issues, (the ownership of new intra-state transmission system cannot be delineated from the assets of existing transmission assets), the STU will obtain prior approval of the MERC for the same,’’ the draft reads.
Further, in case the STU intends to implement any intra state transmission system below the threshold limit through tariff-based CB, due to some specific reasons, STU can do so with prior approval of the MERC.
Till now only one project (400kV Kharghar Vikhroli scheme) has been awarded under tariff-based CB in Maharashtra (earlier envisaged under cost plus regime). Along with Kharghar Vikhroli scheme the empowered committee established by the state government in January 2019 has approved two other schemes 400 kV Sikhrapur- Lonikand Direct Current (DC) line and 200kV Talegaon (PowerGrid Corporation) substation to 200 kV Khed city, to be undertaken under the tariff-based CB. However, MERC said there is no progress on these two schemes so far.
The empowered committee had suggested that all the projects in the STU plan costing Rs 500 crore or more will be referred for consideration for execution under tariff-based CB.