Covid-19 shutdown: CERC lowers late payment charges on discoms

Twesh Mishra New Delhi | Updated on April 03, 2020 Published on April 03, 2020

Country grid gears up for demand drop on April 5

The Central Electricity Regulatory Commission (CERC) has cut the late payment surcharge levied by power generation companies (Gencos) on Distribution Companies (Discoms).

A CERC order said that late payment surcharge (LPS) payable by discoms to gencos and transmission companies will be lowered to 1 per cent per month from 1.5 per cent per month during the lockdown period.

The Centre had directed the CERC to lower the burden on discoms who were unable to collect payments from end consumers because of the 21-day Covid-19 lockdowns. There is also a sustained fall in demand for power as industrial and commercial units are not operational.

This puts more pressure on discoms as their high tariff consumers (commercial and industrial) are not running operating, while demand from cheaper tariff (residential consumers) has firmed up.

Demand drop

The country’s power demand has dropped significantly since the 21-day lockdown was announced.

“Actually considering the need of pan India lockdown due to Covid-19 pandemic, peak demand was lower by about 20 per cent on Thursday,” a Power Ministry official said.

Maximum demand for power stood at 125,817 MW on April 2, 2020. The maximum power demand on April 2, 2019 stood at 168,326 MW.

9-minute power cut

What may hurt the power demand further is Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s appeal for solidarity in fight against Covid-19. Modi urged people to switch of the lights in their homes and light lamps, candles, at 9 pm on Sunday, April 5.

This raised concerns of the electricity grid being unable to handle these massive fluctuations. According to officials in the know, Minister for State (Independent Charge) for Power and New and Renewable Energy, RK Singh has discussed the issue with Power Grid Corporation of India Limited (PGCIL) and Load dispatcher in a meeting on Friday. “They are up to the task and are confident of managing the grid stability for the event,” the official said.

But States are more wary of the situation. According to orders issued by the Uttar Pradesh State Load Dispatch Centre (UPSLDC), the State is expecting a sharp load reduction of 3,000 MW during the period.

The UPSLDC has directed that load shedding is a staggered manner may be done from 8-9 pm on April 5 in UP Power Control Area. This is being done to stop crashing of load and to operate the grid safely.

The gencos have been directed to operate below technical minimum according to need. Even the ‘must run’ category hydropower stations are to reduce their generation as per requirement.

Published on April 03, 2020

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