Government may amend Electricity Act to accommodate electric vehicles

The Act will need no change if EV charging comes under the bracket of “licencee”.

By: ENS Economic Bureau | New Delhi | Published: January 25, 2018 1:43:19 am
electric vehicles, electric vehicles in india, Electricity Act, RK Singh, Central Electricity Authority, indian express According the World Energy Outlook 2017, published by the International Energy Agency (IEA), the electric car fleet in the country by 2040 will be third largest in the world.

To promote the uptake of electric vehicles (EVs) in the country, the government is ready to amend the Electricity Act, 2003. Citing the Electricity Act as an “enabler” for implementing e-mobility, power minister R K Singh said on Wednesday that the “the technical aspects (for the new EV regulation) are to be taken up by the Central Electricity Authority (CEA) while the power ministry will look after the policy side.”

The government will soon address issues such as whether to categorise EV charging stations as a service or a licencee, the minister added while speaking at a conference on the subject organised by CEA here. Since EV charging attracts concessional power tariffs, clarity is needed whether it risks falling under the practice of arbitrage—where one takes advantage of a price difference between two or more markets.

To boost the demand of EVs, it is necessary to come up with a comprehensive plan about installing charging stations. The Act will need no change if EV charging comes under the bracket of “licencee”. Nevertheless, since the Electricity Act does not define EV, it warrants significant assessment from policymakers to come up with a structured plan. Under the current status, EV can be treated as a “consumer” and it may also fall within the scope and meaning of “trading”. Similarly, EV charging infrastructure can also come simultaneously under the definitions of “electric line” and “electricity systems”.

BP Singh, acting chairman of the Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission, pointed out that currently a number of unknown frontiers are posing a challenge to come up with concrete regulations on EV charging. Citing the feeble responses in the EV charging stations set-up by Tata Power Delhi Distribution Ltd, in-spite of the city having more than 1.5 lakh e-rickshaws, he added that a number of technical, logistical and financial aspects should be looked at while formulating a policy on the issue.

According the World Energy Outlook 2017, published by the International Energy Agency (IEA), the electric car fleet in the country by 2040 will be third largest in the world. Participants also pointed out that apart from upfront subsidies, sops such as tax and toll exemptions and reserved parking spaces should be offered to EV owners to promote e-mobility. FE

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