General Network Access to the Inter-State Transmission System) Regulations, 2022
14th November, 2022 Economy
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- Alongside a draft proposal to streamline the regulatory framework for the country’s power transmission, new connectivity regulations released by the electricity regulator CERC are being red-flagged and questioned by market players.
- The Central Electricity Regulatory Commission (CERC) had issued the CERC (Connectivity and General Network Access to the Inter-State Transmission System) Regulations, 2022 (GNA Regulations) on 7 June 2022.
- GNA Regulations are supposed replace the existing inter-state connectivity and open access framework, i.e. the CERC (Grant of Connectivity, Long-term Access and Medium-term Open Access in Inter-State Transmission and related matters) Regulations, 2009 (CERC Regulations 2009).
- The regulatory framework — called General Network Access (GNA) regulations — seeks to do away with pre-determined point-to-point transmission access to instead enable both access or drawal on the entire transmission corridor in a way that it provides generators and procurers the flexibility of both injection and drawal.
The new Regulations
- The GNA Regulations have been issued in line with the concept of ‘One Nation, One Grid’. These regulations aim to provide non-discriminatory open access to the inter-state transmission system (ISTS) to generating companies through general network access (GNA).
- The Government issued new rules for providing general network access, allowing generators to connect to and evacuate power through the inter-state transmission system without designating the location of the offtaker. These rules mark a new paradigm in transmission system planning by enabling flexible, non-discriminatory open access.
- Unlike the present ISTS open access system where generators are required to identify a consumer prior to grant of open access, GNA provides flexibility to the generators by providing them with open access rights without having to specify the injection point and drawal point.
- The GNA Regulations also contemplate grant of temporary GNA (T-GNA), which is akin to the concept of short-term open access. T-GNA is an open access right provided to an eligible buying entity for any duration from one time block and up to 11 months. T-GNA is to be applied and processed through a single window electronic platform, i.e. the National Open Access Registry. As is the case with short-term open access, T-GNA will be granted for the available surplus capacity in ISTS after allocation towards GNA.
- The new framework is being seen as a quantum leap in tiding over the problem of transmission constraints and fostering open access to help develop a seamlessly integrated electricity market.
- There are loopholes in the accompanying connectivity regulations issued subsequently by the regulator. The concern is that these connectivity regulations could potentially end up favouring the bigger players in the sector.
- There is a perceived dilution of the pre-conditions set for grant of connectivity.
- The GNA as a transmission service provides more flexibility and the possibility of open access to the buyers and sellers of power in terms of scheduling, subject to grid constraints, and does not suffer from the rigidity of the current point-to-point open access mechanism.
- Currently, users have to pay long-term charges under the point-to-point connectivity regime, and shell out short-term charges for any deviations from the agreed path. All that changes with GNA, where there is complete flexibility offered to players on injection and drawal.
- The need of the hour is to allay the apprehensions of the market players through multistakeholder consultation.