The Kerala State Electricity Regulatory Commission (KSREC) has put in place a system to enable the power consumers, especially those who consume large quantities of power, to access energy from sources of their choice using the linking network of transmission and distribution licensees.
Commission chairman T.M. Manoharan said on Tuesday that the system being introduced would be governed by the new 'Regulations on Connectivity and Intra-State Open Access.' It was in line with certain sections in the Electricity Act that stipulated that the transmission and distribution licensees should provide "non-discriminatory open access" to energy for the consumers.
Consumers such as industries that required power supply without disruption would stand to benefit by these regulations during times of power supply restrictions, or even when power is available to them from outside sources at more competitive rates than from the Kerala State Electricity Board (KSEB). They could, in such situations, bring energy from outside sources by paying a specified transmission/wheeling charge to the transmission/distribution licensee concerned (mainly the KSEB). They would have to be connected by dedicated power feeders.
"For bringing power, the transmission line or the distribution line will be similar to a highway or road along which one can drive a vehicle by paying road tax," Mr. Manoharan said.
In a press release, the commission said it had taken into consideration the new developments such as setting up of power exchanges, emergence of power traders, and appearance of several independent power producers in the country.
"The main objective of the regulations is to provide a single reference point for intra-State open access and thereby help power producers, traders, and consumers to work out strategies that are economically optimal for each of them," the release said.
The new regulations would replace a set of regulations notified in 2005, when the power sector environment was quite different in the country.
High end power consumers (for example, big commercial establishments such as malls and jewellery showrooms) who cross-subsidise power supply to large sections of the poor consumers by paying high rates for the energy consumed by them too could avail themselves of the benefits of these regulations, but they would have to pay the "cross-subsidy surcharge" to the State power utility that supply electricity at low rates to the poor sections.
The commission has directed the KSEB to prepare detailed procedure for implementation of these regulations within a period of 60 days.