In a first of its case, the Central Electricity Regulatory Commission (‘CERC’) has allowed Optical Ground Wire (‘OPGW’) work to be awarded to the transmission line asset owner.
The Petition was filed by Central Transmission Utility of India Limited (CTUIL) seeking directions for installation of optical ground wire for the 400kV Kurukshetra – Malerkotla transmission line established under the Northern Region System Strengthening Scheme XXXI(B). The Kurukshetra-Malerkotla Line is owned and operated by Sekura NRSS XXXI(B) Transmission Ltd.
CERC has held that the additional expenditure on account of OPGW works in the manner as expenditure under Change in Law provision as the requirement of OPGW is an additional mandate under the law. This would lead to quicker and simplified recovery of the expenditure as against the route of Regulatory Tariff Mechanism (RTM).
CERC while passing the order has given other elaborate findings and certainty to the Transmission Licensees who are required to implement the OPGW works. Some of the key findings are:
- There is no requirement of amending the transmission license granted to the Transmission Licensee for implementation of OPGW works;
- The transmission licensee is directed to follow a transparent process of competitive bidding while implementing such work;
- After implementation of the work, the transmission licensee is required to approach the Commission for approval of such expenditure along with audited data of the expenditure and details of competitive bidding carried out by it. The additional expenditure will be considered after adjusting the buy-back or the scrap value of that earth-wire; and
- As regards the treatment of deemed availability, the Central Commission has held that the deemed availability shall be treated in terms of the provisions of TSA which provides for deemed availability in case of shutdown of the system for maintenance or construction of another transmission scheme (whether implemented by the same Transmission Licensee or not).
The above order passed by the Central Commission is a landmark order which paves the way for implementation of OPGW works by the Transmission Licensees with clear set of guidelines in place for implementation of OPGW.
M/s. R Associates, Advocates represented Sekura NRSS XXXI(B) Transmission Ltd. in the matter.