This module focuses on transmission policies at the central level. This includes Electricity Act, National Electricity and Tariff Policy provisions for Transmission, Tariff Based Competitive Bidding (TBCB) Guidelines and documents related to Transmission Committees.

The Electricity Act, 2003

The Electricity Act, 2003 introduces the framework for transmission licensees and states the functions of central transmission utility (CTU) and state transmission utility (STU). It also describes the functions entrusted upon Central Electricity Regulatory Commission (CERC), Central Electricity Authority (CEA) and load dispatch centres (LDCs) at state and central level for the development of transmission system in the country.

The Electricity Act, 2003

Manual on Planning Criteria

The Manual on Planning Criteria is prepared by CEA and covers the transmission network planning philosophy, the information required from various entities, permissible limits, reliability criteria, broad scope of system studies, modelling and analysis etc. and gives guidelines for transmission planning. The manual was initially prepared in 1985, revised in 1994 and again in 2013. A completely revised manual was released in 2023, the summary of which can be found below.

CEA Manual on Transmission Planning Criteria 1994 
CEA Manual on Transmission Planning Criteria 2023
CEA Manual on Transmission Planning Criteria 2013 

Rules on Planning & Charges

These Rules have been notified by the Ministry of Power on 1st October, 2021. They further detail the role of CEA, NCT and CTU in transmission planning and approval, and recovery of ISTS charges.

Electricity (Transmission System Planning, Development and Recovery of Inter-State Transmission Charges) Rules, 2021 

National Electricity Policy

National Electricity Policy (NEP) was formulated by the Ministry of Power, mandated under Section 3(1) of Electricity Act 2003 in 2005. While aiming to lay down guidelines for accelerated development of the power sector, the policy guides the CERC and SERCs in addressing various aspects related to the electricity sector including the transmission sector. The policy mandates CTU and STUs for preparing 5-year and 15-year transmission plans for a reliable, integrated transmission network with long term visibility.

National Electricity Policy, 2005
Draft National Electricity Policy, 2021

National Tariff Policy

Tariff Policy was formulated by the Ministry of Power, as per Section 3(1) of Electricity Act 2003 in 2006 and subsequently revised in 2016. The policy aims to ensure optimal development of the transmission network and attract investment in the sector. The policy encourages competitive bidding for transmission projects, apart from laying down a framework for performance-based cost of service regulation for transmission and guiding principle for transmission pricing.

Tariff Policy, 2006
Tariff Policy, 2016

Competitive Bidding Guidelines

These guidelines are formulated by the Ministry of Power, as per Section 63 of Electricity Act 2003. These guidelines aim to promote competition, encourage private sector participation, facilitate transparency in procurement, reduce information asymmetry, protect consumer interests, reduce time required to materialize projects and ensure compliance with norms and standards for the transmission sector. An analysis of ISTS projects under TBCB is under progress and will be shared after completion.

Tariff Based Competitive Bidding (TBCB) Guidelines, 2006
Tariff Based Competitive Bidding (TBCB) Guidelines, 2021

National Committee on Transmission

The Ministry of Power (MoP) through its notification dated 13th April 2018, had constituted the National Committee on Transmission (NCT) with identified Terms of Reference for the Committee. It was reconstituted again by a MoP notification dated 4th November 2019 with revised Terms of Reference. The committee is now mandated to evaluate the functioning of the National grid, consider the recommendations of the Regional Power Committee (Transmission Planning) (RPCTP) for system expansion, to evaluate the assessments of CTU and to make Perspective plans for 10-15 years' time horizon. The NCT was further reconstituted by a MoP notification dated 28th October 2021 with revised Terms of Reference. NCT is mandated to approve ISTS projects costing between ₹100 crore and ₹500 crore. For projects above ₹500 crore cost, NCT has to refer them to MoP for approval while for projects less than ₹100 crore cost, the CTU is the authority for approval. In addition to NCT, there were two other bodies involved in transmission system approval, namely, Empowered Committee on Transmission (ECT) and Regional Power Committee (Transmission Planning) (RPCTP) (one for each region). ECT was dissolved in 2019 after re-constitution of NCT. Furthemore, RPCTPs were dissolved in Oct, 2021 and NCT has been consulting Regional Power Committees (RPCs) since then. The minutes of meetings held by NCT can be accessed here.

Re-constitution of NCT (2021)
Re-constitution of NCT (2019)
Constitution of NCT (2018)

Guidelines on Communication System Planning

Guidelines on Planning of Communication System for lnter-State Transmission System (ISTS) have been approved by Ministry of Power on 9th March, 2022. These guidelines define the categories of Communication System Schemes for ISTS and their corresponding approval procedure.

Guidelines on Communication System Planning 

Guidelines on Cross Border Trade of Electricity

The Ministry of Power (MoP) in consultation with Ministry of External Affairs has issues guidelines for cross-border trade of electricity with objectives to facilitate import/ export of electricity between India and neighbouring countries, evolve a dynamic and robust electricity infrastructure for import/ export of electricity; and promote transparency, consistency and predictability in regulatory mechanism pertaining to such trade import/ export of electricity in the country. MoP had devised a Guidelines for cross border trade of electricity in 2016, which was superseded by Guidelines issued in 2018.

Addendum on Guidelines of Cross Border Trade of Ele. 2019 
Guidelines for Import/Export (Cross Border) of Electricity-2018 
Guidelines on Cross Border Trade of Electricity, 2016 

Guidelines for compensation - Right of Way

On the basis of recommendations made by the committee constituted by Ministry of Power in 2015, the guidelines have been formulated for determining the compensation towards the damages in regard to Right of Way (RoW) for laying down the transmission lines in the country. The compensation is only payable for transmission lines supported by a tower base of 66 kV and above.

Guidelines for payment of compensation in regard to Right of Way (RoW) for transmission lines in urban areas 
Guidelines for payment of compensation towards damages in regard to Right of Way for transmission lines 

Procedure for shifting Transmission line

CEA has prepared a consolidated Standard Operating Procedure for shifting of transmission lines while developing infrastructure projects, on the request of the Ministry of Power. The guidelines have been issued on 10th March, 2023. The procedures are prepared to ensure smooth coordination between infrastructure development agencies and transmission licensees while developing infrastructure projects.

Procedure for shifting of transmission lines involving works by other infrastructure developers 

O&M guidelines for assets under TBCB

CEA has issued guidelines for roles and responsibility of New TSP (transmission service provider) and existing Substation owner for operation and maintenance (O&M) of assets created under TBCB (tariff based competitive bidding) Project. Along with this, CEA has also formulated standard O&M agreement for bay terminal equipment or terminal equipment associated with transformation capacity enhancement/ voltage up gradation works/ creation of new voltage level in existing substation/ new voltage expansion (addition of transformation capacity), etc. which results in addition of transformer(s). This is significant because in case of the assets of the New TSP which are co-located in the existing sub-station, detailed scope of works as well as the roles and responsibilities of the New TSP and existing TSP have not been clearly defined in the TBCB Bid documents.

O&M guidelines for assets under TBCB

ISTS Waiver

To promote the development of renewables in RE-rich states and encourage inter-state procurement of renewables, the central government allowed waiver of ISTS charges and losses for solar and wind projects in 2016. Through various subsequent orders, the Ministry of Power (MoP) extended the deadline of ISTS waiver for some solar and wind project categories commissioned till 30th June, 2025. Recently, the ambit of the waiver has been widened for green hydrogen, large hydro plants, pumped storage hydro (PSH) and battery storage (BESS). We have tracked the several amendments and evolution of the ISTS waiver framework since 2016 below.

ISTS Waiver