Charging electric vehicles will be a service, not a sale of electricity, as India looks to pave the way for companies to set up the infrastructure for battery-powered transport.
“Sale of electricity is a licensed activity. We have taken an in-principle decision that this will be considered a service,” Aniruddha Kumar, joint secretary at the Ministry of Power, said in New Delhi yesterday. The new guidelines, which were expected to be released this financial year, will incentivise private companies as setting up charging stations wouldn’t require a licence.
India plans to turn all vehicles electric by 2030 as Asia’s third-largest economy looks to cut reliance on fossil fuels, nearly 80 percent of which is imported. Yet, Electricity Act 2003 only allows licensed power distributors to sell electricity. That was a hurdle in building infrastructure for electric mobility.
Several private companies have expressed interest setting up charging infrastructure. Public sector undertakings such as NTPC Ltd. and Power Finance Corp Ltd. are also keen, Kumar said.
The Central Electricity Authority is ready with new technical standards and specifications for charging stations. “They will include safety aspects and how they will be integrated into the grid.”
The policy will also include guidelines on effective tariffs. All states and regulators will be advised to cap the tariff for electricity sold to the charging stations at 115 percent of their average cost of supply, Kumar said. The cost will be calculated by excluding transmission and distribution losses. In most states, the tariff will be below Rs 6 a unit, he added.