Central govt caps tariff at public charging stations for electric vehicles

The current amendment is similar to the original guidelines issued in December 2018 | Photo: Shutterstock
The Union ministry of power has reverted to its earlier rules, set in 2018, on public charging stations for electric vehicles (EVs). 

The latest revision has capped the ‘per unit cost’ of electricity to be used for charging an EV at a public station — for domestic charging, the existing  rate of that particular state would be applicable.

The power ministry in its new amendment has specified that the tariff for public charging station should not be more than 15 per cent of the state’s average cost of supply (ACS). “The tariff for supply of electricity to EV public charging station shall be determined by the appropriate commission, in accordance with the extant tariff policy issued under Section 3 of the Electricity Act 2003. The tariff shall not be more than the average cost of supply plus 15 per cent, unless otherwise specified by the tariff policy,” stated the amendment notified this week.
The latest amendment is similar to the original guidelines issued in December 2018.

ACS is the average of the rates at which a state supplies electricity to all sets of consumers — domestic, commercial, industrial, and agriculture. All India ACS stands at Rs 5.48 per unit (as last recorded in 2017-18).
Officials said this was done to push states to keep EV charging rates in control and, thereby, promote the use of EV as public transport. “For mass scale acceptance of EVs, public charging should be accessible at attractive rates, in the limits of the ACS of that state,” said an official.

Power tariff for consumers in a state is decided by its state electricity regulatory commission (SERC). However, the guiding principles are set by the Union ministry of power under the National Tariff Policy (NTP), issued periodically. The NTP was last issued in 2018.

In October last year, the power ministry had removed any cap on the tariff to set for public charging stations. It has left the decision for setting tariff for public charging stations on the SERCs and removed any conditions.
For 2019-20, the Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission (DERC) had fixed the unit and tariff for EVs at Rs 4.5/kwh and Rs 4, respectively. This is lower than the ACS of Delhi which is more than Rs 6.5 per unit.

Uttar Pradesh in FY20 had set the public charging rates for EVs in range of Rs 7.3-7.7 per unit, higher than its ACS of Rs 5.2 per unit. 

In states, such as Karnataka, Gujarat, and Maharashtra, the public charging rates of EV are close to or less than the ACS (of 2017-18).

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