Proposed gross metering to hit hard homes with on-grid solar systems

If gross metering is implemented, the solar panel entrepreneurs will have to pay the same rate as other consumers. Photo: File Image

Kannur: Those who have set up solar panels by spending huge amounts with the aim of reducing the electricity bill have a reason to worry. The Electricity Regulatory Commission has again taken up for consideration the Kerala State Electricity Board’s recommendation that gross metering should be adopted instead of the present practice of net metering.

The analysis of data will be taken up soon in this regard.

If gross metering is implemented, the concessions given in the electricity bill to owners of on-grid solar panels will cease.

Currently, the difference in the number of units produced from the solar panels and those used by the owner is calculated and only the excess units used are billed. The same rate is fixed for the electricity produced from the solar panels and the ones used.

If fewer units than those produced by solar panels are used, then the consumer will be paid for the units fed into the Kerala State Electricity Board (KSEB) grid. But if gross metering is implemented, the solar panel entrepreneurs will have to pay the same rate as other consumers. Since the electricity produced is not reduced from the amount of power used, the slab grade too will go up. This will lead to the billed amount increasing manifold.

The bill will increase still further if the recommendation to impose higher tariff for power used during the peak hours comes into force.

The solar panel owners fear that they will not be able to recoup their investment even within 10 or 20 years if these recommendations are implemented.

KSEB demand rejected earlier
The KSEB had put forth the demand for gross metering last year too. However, the demand was rejected by the Regulatory Commission pointing out that the amount of power produced from renewable sources was not sufficient enough to conform to conditions under the Renewable Purchase Obligation (RPO).

However, after the Centre revised the norms by including hydel power too in the category of renewable sources, Kerala does not need to comply with RPO guidelines.

Under these circumstances, if the Regulatory Commission accepts the KSEB’s demand, it will throw into a crisis the producers of solar power and private entrepreneurs who have invested funds in various sources of renewable energy such as wind and hydel power.

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