Nagpur: The Nag Vidarbha Chamber of Commerce (NVCC), a leading organisation of 13 traders in Vidarbha, has extended support to the hunger strike agitation being held by Maharashtra Solar Manufacturers Association (MASMA) to protest the proposed draft of MERC on renewable energy rules 2019 (RER-2019). Recently, the Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Commission (MERC) published the draft version of its tariff determination regulation order for renewable projects commissioned in the state for the generation and sale of electricity to distribution licensees.
The hunger strike is being undertaken by MASMA’s Devendra Govind Ranade, Amit Deotale, Pankaj Gade, and Sunil Lade at Deekshabhoomi Square from December 7.
NVCC President Ashwin Mehadia and other office-bearers visited the agitation venue and extended support to MASMA. Mehadia said that the State Government in order to boost solar power usage, had implemented ‘Net Metering Policy’ in 2015. Taking the benefit of this policy, the general public and small traders had installed solar power in houses and shops. Now, if the ‘Net Billing Rules’ instead of ‘Net Metering Policy’ is implemented as proposed by MERC, the solar power industries would be on the verge of extinction. Investments would be nil commin people, small and middle class traders are burdened with power bills. “People would lose trust on policies being implemented by government,” Mehadia said.
As per the MERC draft, the residents who have installed rooftop solar panels and generate excess units by renewable energy system will be at a loss. People in general are angered by such one-sided proposed policy. According to the new policy, all the investments for solar installations will be done by the consumers but still, they will have to purchase electricity from MSEDCL at thrice the price at which they will be supplying the power back to MSEDCL.
MASMA said the draft rule, especially the commercial arrangements, will discourage solar power generation in the state. The new draft regulation for renewable energy prepared by the MERC is set to benefit the discom. The gist of the draft rule is that if a consumer generates excess power from solar panels, the MSEDCL will purchase at a cheaper rate of Rs 3, while it will charge Rs 12 per unit from a similar consumer. The proposed regulations will discourage solar installations and create lots of difficulties for people across the state. As per the draft rule, electricity costs would surge and will increase production as well as operational costs in industries, which will definitely increase inflation, said MASMA.
Other office-bearers present on the occasion include Vice President Arjundas Ahuja, Treasurer Sachin Punyani and Joint Secretary Swapnil Ahirkar.