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MNRE asks SERCs to hear petitions from RE developers online

The MNRE has asked SERCs to hear petitions from renewable power developers online through video conferencing

  • Renewable power developers had approached the MNRE, saying that SERCs had been postponing the listing and hearing of petitions filed by them

  • They told the ministry that any delay in relief from the SERCs will adversely affect the financial viability of their projects

New Delhi: The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy has asked SERCs (State Electricity Regulatory Commissions) to hear petitions from renewable power developers online through video conferencing in order to resolve them as soon as possible. In a notification released on Tuesday, the MNRE said, “...to provide support to the renewable sector in regularising the matters at State Electricity Regulatory Commissions (SERCs) and safeguard the ongoing investment in the country, Ministry of New & Renewable Energy (MNRE) hereby requests all the State Electricity Regulatory Commissions (SERCs) to kindly consider allowing filing and listing of petitions online and hear urgent matters through video conferencing.”

Renewable power developers say delay at SERC will impact financial viability

Renewable power developers had approached the MNRE, saying that SERCs had been postponing the listing and hearing of petitions filed by them due to the extended lockdown put in place to curb Coronavirus pandemic. “Renewable Power Developers have emphasised on the need for timely filing and disposal of petitions in SERC and have submitted that any delay in relief from the SERCs will adversely affect the financial viability of their projects,” the notification said.

“They have cited the precedence of Hon’ble Supreme Court, High Courts and Appellate Tribunal for Electricity (APTEL) stating the online listing and hearing of urgent matters and have requested this Ministry to issue advisory to all State Electricity Regulatory Commissions (SERCs) to allow filing and listing of petitions online and hear urgent matters through video conferencing,” it added.

The backdrop

The Coronavirus pandemic has dealt a blow to India’s renewable energy expansion plan, with the nation being under a complete lockdown for nearly a month. In the aftermath, some relaxations have been relaxed but the availability of labour continues to be an issue with several migrants still stuck on their way home, while other managing to reach their hometowns only recently. In addition to the delay being caused by the unavailability of labour, RE developers have said that their petitions waiting to be heard by SERCs have also held up operations. India has set a target of having 175 GW of installed RE capacity by 2022.