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The ministry of power on Wednesday launched a mobile app and web portal for tracking and managing merit order dispatch of power. The web portal, called MERIT (Merit Order Despatch of Electricity for Rejuvenation of Income and Transparency), according to the government, would entail savings of close to Rs 20,000 crore to consumers in the coming five years.
The merit order stack is a common approach to the problem of minimising the sum of generators’ operating costs, while honouring the operational constraints of the available generation to supply the demand in a secure and reliable manner, said a government statement.
Piyush Goyal, the minister of state for coal, power, mines, new & renewable energy said: “Producers can reduce power costs by 10 paisa per unit by rationalising coal supply made possible through the e-bid portal.”
The Tariff Policy, 2016 provides that the states and electricity distribution companies (discoms) shall follow merit order for the procurement of power and there should be uniformity in the merit order mechanism. During the Power Ministers' conference held at Vadodara in October 2016, it was decided that a committee would be constituted to examine the status of the ‘merit order dispatch’ and other issues involved in it. The committee was also tasked with the responsibility of ensuring the proper dispatch of renewable sources, involving compliance to the merit order principle.
Recommendations of the committee have been prepared with regard to transparency in merit order operations and promotion of renewables through the effective implementation of the ‘must-run’ status of renewables. “Most states follow merit order operation. However, details in this regard need to be made available in a transparent manner,” said officials.
The power ministry also launched the e-bidding portal, which has been designed to facilitate various states in inviting auctions for the procurement of power from prospective independent power producers (IPPs) in a transparent and fair manner. The successful bidder shall be selected through the e-reverse bidding process.
“a few years back, when the coal linkage rationalisation was undertaken, it led to huge savings. This portal is again going to bring in improvement in savings. It will also provide flexibility in a transparent method of buying power,” said A K Bhalla, secretary, the ministry of power.
The portal has been jointly developed by the ministry of power, along with the PFC Consulting Ltd and the MSTC Ltd.