Union Power Ministry promulgates new rules to provide easier access to electricity transmission network | Daily Current Affairs 2021
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Union Power Ministry promulgates new rules to provide easier access to electricity transmission network

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Electricity Rules 2021: Power Ministry has promulgated the Electricity (Transmission System Planning, Development and Recovery of Inter-State Transmission Charges) Rules 2021 for easier access to the transmission networks.

Key Points:

  • The rules underpin a system of transmission access which is termed as a General Network Access (GNA) in the inter-state transmission system.
  • The Central Electricity Regulatory Commission (CERC) has been empowered to bring out detailed regulations on GNA in inter-state transmission systems.
  • This provides flexibility to the States as well as the generating stations to acquire, hold and transfer transmission capacity as per their requirements.
  • The rules will therefore bring in rationality, responsibility and fairness in the process of transmission planning as well as its costs.
  • In a major change from the present system of taking transmission access, power plants will not have to specify their target beneficiaries.
  • The rules will also empower state power distribution and transmission companies to determine their transmission requirements and build them.
  • The Central Government has notified these rules with a view to streamline the process of planning, development and recovery of investment in the transmission system.
  • The rules, for the first time have enabled the transmission capacity to be sold, shared or purchased by the States and generators.
  • Apart from introducing GNA, the rules also specify clear roles of various agencies involved in the transmission planning process.
  • The Central Electricity Authority shall prepare a short-term plan every year on rolling basis for next 5 years and perspective plan every alternative year on rolling basis for next 10 years.

What is the reason behind these rules?

The reason behind these rules is as follows:

  • To identify how the existing long-term access (LTA) will be converted into GNA.
  • At present, generating companies apply for LTA based on their supply tie-ups, while medium-term and short-term transmission access is acquired within the available margins.
  • Based on LTA application, incremental transmission capacity is added.
  • To streamline the process of planning, development and recovery of investment in the transmission system.
  • To encourage investments in the generation and transmission sectors.

What role does the CEA, CTU and CERC play in the transmission planning process?

  • As per the specified rules, the roles of CEA, CTU and CERC in the transmission planning process are as follows:
  • The Central Electricity Authority (CEA) will prepare will prepare a short-term plan every year on a rolling basis up to next 5 years and a prospective plan every alternative year on a rolling basis for the next 10 years.
  • The Central Transmission Utility (CTU) will prepare an implementation plan for inter-State transmission system every year on rolling basis for up to next 5 years.
  • The Central Electricity Regulatory Commission (CERC) has been empowered to bring out detailed regulations on GNA in interstate transmission system.

Other reforms by Power Ministry:

  • The Ministry of Power had separated the Central Transmission Utility from POWERGRID to provide transparency and a level playing field in the bids for transmission and reduced the lock-in period for transmission projects in order to attract investments and more competition.
  • The Ministry also issued the Right of Consumer rules, which empower consumers and rules laying down the ceiling for late payment surcharge.

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