Open Access in India: Concept, Challenges and Way Forward
Non-discriminatory Open access has been envisaged in the Electricity Act, 2003 as a framework for encouraging competition in the electricity sector and for enabling consumers to choose their power suppliers. The law mandates that it shall be the duty of the transmission utility/licensee to provide non-discriminatory open access to its transmission system to every licensee and generating company and also to consumers after open access in distribution is introduced as per provisions of Section 42.
The Central Electricity Regulatory Commission (CERC) has framed regulations on inter-State open access. There have been large numbers of transactions involving the generating companies, traders and distribution companies through open access in interstate transmission. At the State level, regulations have been framed by the State Commissions, phasing out open access for consumers. Transmission charges, wheeling charges and surcharge have also been determined by most SERCs. However, implementation of open access at the distribution level has not been encouraging.
The idea has failed to take off because of resistance from distribution companies and practical problems in implementing the provisions. Open access has been successfully implemented in many developed countries because of separation of network ownership and power supply. While distribution network is still owned and operated by monopolies, there are multiple suppliers of electricity using the same network in various countries. In contrast, we have a situation in India where network owner and electricity supplier happen to be the same entity
Open access transactions have been primarily used by SEBs / distribution licensees to sell surpluses or to meet the short – term power requirements in their respective regions. The industrial customers still face problems pertaining to accessing their choice of suppliers due to the restrictions (such as invoking Section 11/108 of Electricity Act 2003) imposed by several state governments/SLDCs citing shortages or non – availability of transmission infrastructure.
In order to investigate the comprehensive concept and understanding of the idea of Open Access in India, with the degree of success over implementation of the same in the country, Infraline Energy is organizing a one day conference on Open Access in Power Sector to discuss in detail the issues and challenges obstructing its implementation whilst also looking at the regulatory & policies framework. The conference will also include a small workshop on the Pricing Mechanisms to understand the concept of POC, Inter-State & Intra-State Charges Calculations & Market Splitting Mechanisms in Power Exchanges.