Net Metering to Continue for Solar Rooftop Consumers in Maharashtra

The Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Commission (MERC) has issued new regulations for net metering in the state. These regulations will come into force from the date of their publication in the Official Gazette.<br />

January 02, 2020. By Darshana Daga

In a major jolt to state discom MSEDCL, Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Commission (MERC) has rejected its demand of making net billing compulsory for solar rooftop consumers.

It is up to the consumer to decide whether he wants net metering or net billing, according to the MERC (Grid Interactive Rooftop Renewable Energy Generating Systems Regulations) 2019.  

The net billing system proposed by MSEDCL would have made solar rooftop unviable and had been opposed by all consumers including Maharashtra Solar Manufacturers Association (MASMA).

Some aspects of the new regulations are in favour of MSEDCL. The cost of net meter and renewable energy meter used to be borne by the discom so far. Now, it will be borne by the consumer. But, the MSEDCL has not supplied even a single net meter to consumers so far. The consumers had purchased the meter on their own and MSEDCL had not refunded the cost to any consumer. Hence, this change won’t affect the consumers much in real terms.

Secondly, MERC has decided to levy a grid support charge on consumers having load of more than 10 KW. While the formula for calculating this charge is mentioned in the notification, MSEDCL will have to seek its levy in the next tariff petition. The charge will be known after MERC gives a ruling on MSEDCL’s petition.

There are many clauses that are in favour of the consumers. The maximum solar load permissible on a MSEDCL distribution transformer was up to 40% of the transformer capacity. Now it has been increased to 70% with a deviation of 5% on either side. MSEDCL can permit 100% after conducting a load study.

MSEDCL has been given a timeline for processing the applications of solar consumers. It will have to issue a letter of sanction within 15 days of receiving the application. The testing of net meter and its installation has to be done within next 10 days. Grid synchronization and signing of agreement will have to be accomplished in another ten days. The registration fee has been reduced for smaller consumers. Earlier, it was Rs500 up to 5kW and Rs1,000 thereafter. Now, it is Rs500 up to 20kW and Rs100 for every 20kW or part of. High tension (HT) consumers will have to pay Rs5,000 flat.

Other clauses of the regulations are: All meters to have advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) facility with RS485 for higher communication port and check meter for solar generation is compulsory above 20kW and it is to be installed by MSEDCL.  
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