General Network Access (GNA)

    0
    3602

    In News

    • Experts have recently flagged issues regarding General Network Access (GNA) regulations.
      • The new connectivity regulation is slated to be opened from December 1, 2022.  

    Background

    • The Central Electricity Regulatory Commission (CERC) issued the CERC (Connectivity and General Network Access to the Inter State Transmission System) Regulations, 2022 (GNA Regulations) in June 2022.
      • The GNA Regulations will replace the CERC (Grant of Connectivity, Long-term Access and Medium-term Open Access in Inter-State Transmission and related matters) Regulations, 2009 (CERC Regulations 2009).
      • If implemented it would bring in a radical change to the country’s power disbursal system and create a level playing field.    
    • Objectives:
      • Proper planning of transmission system.
      • Assured recovery of transmission charges from the applicant.
    • What are the changes that are expected?
      • Currently, a power generator has to work out how the electricity will be wheeled to the consumer under the point-to-point access concept.
        • GNA will enable them to supply from any point, as long as the quantum contracted for is met. 
      • Currently, users have to pay long-term charges under the point-to-point connectivity regime, and shell out short-term charges for any deviations from the agreed path. 
        • All that changes with GNA, where there is complete flexibility offered to players on injection and drawal.
      • These regulations aim to provide non-discriminatory open access to the inter-state transmission system (ISTS) to generating companies through general network access (GNA). 
        • Unlike the present ISTS open access system where generators are required to identify a consumer prior to grant of open access. 
    • Eligibility criteria:
      • The draft clearly defines the eligibility for GNA. According to the draft, the following entities shall be eligible as applicants for grant of GNA or for enhancement of the quantum of GNA:
        • State Transmission Utility on behalf of distribution licensees connected to intra-State transmission system and other intra-State entities;
        • A buying entity connected to intra-State transmission system; Draft Central Electricity Regulatory Commission (Connectivity and General Network Access to the inter-State transmission System) Regulations, 2021;
        • A distribution licensee or a bulk consumer, seeking to connect to ISTS, directly, with a load of 50 MW and above;
        • Trading licensees engaged in cross-border trade of electricity in terms of the Cross Border Regulations;
        • Transmission licensee connected to ISTS for drawal of auxiliary power.

    What is General Network Access (GNA)?

    • GNA means open access to the inter-State transmission system. This is in keeping with the concept of “one nation, one grid”. 
    • The GNA as a transmission service provides more flexibility and the possibility of open access to the buyers and sellers of power in terms of scheduling, subject to grid constraints, and does not suffer from the rigidity of the current point-to-point open access mechanism.  

    Major Issues

    • Favouring Big players: These connectivity regulations could potentially end up favouring the bigger players in the sector.
      • The bigger players took advantage of the liberal grant of connectivity by the CERC in 2016 without any stringent pre-conditions.
    • Preconditions have been diluted or removed: The biggest shortcoming in the accompanying connectivity regulations pertains to the perceived dilution of the pre-conditions set for grant of connectivity.
      • New rules in 2018 were incorporated such as strict conditions like the letter of award (LOA), financial closure status, the acquisition of 50 per cent land to counter the squatting of grid connectivity by players etc. 
    • Market capture: Big Renewable Energy developers will end up potentially capturing the most lucrative RE pooling stations with multiple applications and apply for a staggered date of completion depending on anticipated investment resources. 

    Significance

    • Beneficial for all: This is expected to benefit the power generator and consumer, who now are dealing with challenges of transmission too. 
    • Roles are defined clearly: It will untangle the current webs in the system and ensure that a generator focuses only on producing power and the consumer on buying it. How it will be transmitted will no longer be a restriction or a challenge. 
    • Seamless integrated electricity market: The new framework is being seen as a quantum leap in tiding over the problem of transmission constraints and fostering open access to help develop a seamlessly integrated electricity market.
    • Customer centric approach: A consumer is not worried about where the supply will come from and what energy source it will come from. The quantum contracted for will be transmitted to the consumer. 

    Conclusion

    • Though it is still at a draft proposal stage, GNA is a much awaited change and the power generators have been waiting for it.

    Source: IE