Electricity Regulatory Commissions (ERCs) are broadly divided into two categories, viz. Central Electricity Regulatory Commission (CERC) and State Electricity Regulatory Commissions (SERCs).
CERC is a quasi-judicial body formed under Section 76 of Electricity Act 2003. The Central Commission is consists of a Chairperson and three members – and are appointed by the Central Government, on the recommendation of the Selection Committee. The committee members must possess below qualifications:
- one person having qualifications and experience in the field of engineering with specialisation in generation, transmission or distribution of electricity;
- one person having qualifications and experience in the field of finance;
- two persons having qualifications and experience in the field of economics, commerce, law or management
CERC discharges below duties:
- to regulate & determine Tariff of
- Generating companies owned/controlled by the Central Government
- Generating companies other than those owned/controlled by the Central Government and are engaged in sale of electricity in more than one states
- Interstate Transmission Lines
- to issue licenses to persons to function as transmission licensee and electricity trader; and to specify and enforce the standards with respect to quality, continuity and reliability of service by licensees
- to fix the trading margin in the inter-State trading of electricity, if considered, necessary
- to adjudicate upon disputes involving generating companies or transmission licensee in regard to matters connected with regulation and determination of Tariff
- to specify Grid Code having regard to Grid Standards
CERC advises the Central Government (MoP) on below matters:
- formulation of National electricity Policy and tariff policy
- promotion of competition, efficiency and economy in activities of the electricity industry
- promotion of investment in electricity industry
CERC is meant to ensure transparency while exercising its power and discharging its functions.
CERC has four divisions, such as Economics, Finance, Engineering and Legal.
Under Section 82 of the Electricity Act 2003, every State Government State was to form Electricity Regulatory Commissions. The Chairperson and Members of the State Commissions are to be appointed under the recommendations by the Selection Committee to the State Government. Unlike CERC, SERC is to have three members including Chairperson.
The SERC is to discharge following duties:
- Determine the tariff for generation, supply, transmission and wheeling of electricity, wholesale, bulk or retail, as the case may be, within the State
- Where Open Access has been permitted, determination of Wheeling Charges and Surcharge thereon
- regulate electricity purchase and procurement process of distribution licensees including the price at which electricity shall be procured from the generating companies or licensees or from other sources through agreements for the purchase of power for distribution and supply within the State
- facilitate intra-State transmission and wheeling of electricity
- issue licences to persons seeking to act as transmission licensees, distribution licensees and electricity traders with respect to their operations within the State;
- promote co-generation and generation of electricity from renewable sources of energy by providing suitable measures for connectivity with the grid and sale of electricity to any person, and also specify, for the purchase of electricity from such sources, a percentage of the total consumption of electricity in the area of a distribution licensee;
- adjudicate upon the disputes between the licensees, and generating companies and to refer any dispute for arbitration
- specify State Grid Code consistent with the Grid Code
- specify or enforce standards with respect to quality, continuity and reliability of service by licensees
- fix the trading margin in the intra-State trading of electricity, if considered, necessary
SERC advises the State Government on below matters:
- promotion of competition, efficiency and economy in activities of the electricity industry;
- promotion of investment in electricity industry;
- reorganisation and restructuring of the electricity industry in the State
- matters concerning generation, transmission, distribution and trading of electricity or any other matter referred to the State Commission by that Government
On their websites of the Commissions, one would find
- Hearing Schedules on the cases filed by Government or non-Government bodies
- Public Hearing on draft regulations and guidelines
- Status of the Petitions filed
- Acts and Policies defined by the Central/State Commission
- Rules and Regulations of the respective Commission
- Orders issues on the petitions filed
- Annual Reports
Like CERC, SERCs are also meant to ensure transparency while exercising their powers and discharging their functions.
While discharging their functions, Commissions are guided by the National Electricity Policy, National Electricity Plan and Tariff Policy.
The role of Regulator is extremely important in ensuring healthy competition, maintaining investment friendly environment, unbiased orders and most optimum utilisation of the resource.