Open access recognises that transmission and distribution wires are rarely duplicated on the same route. So the wires must be accessible to any generating company for moving its electricity. RCs will determine the tariffs for using the wires and an additional surcharge not applicable to captive generated electricity to pay for cross-subsidies till they are eliminated.
Thus private generators can now produce and sell electricity to anyone. They can use inter and intra-state transmission lines to transmit power. If the user is part of a captive network only the normal transmission tariffs shall be paid. If its not, there will be a surcharge. A certain amount of choice is now available to producers and users. Competition has entered electricity.
However, SEBs fear that they will lose many good paying customers. Some state commissions have yet to issue rules for open access. Others have announced unviable surcharges. The CERC has asked SERCs to announce their rules. If the central government succumbs to pressure and reverses the Act, a key element in electricity reform will be abandoned.
The writer is former chairman, CERC