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Power firm grapples with Neepco dues

Shillong, May 4: The Meghalaya Energy Corporation Limited has a total outstanding liability of Rs 1,745 crore out of which, Rs 871 crore is overdue for payment.

Sources said the liabilities include dues for power purchase and transmission charges at Rs 482.9 crore, of which Rs 379.16 crore is to Neepco alone. The corporation has to pay Rs 21 crore to suppliers and contractors and Rs 24 crore towards staff arrears and pensions.

The Meghalaya government-owned corporation also has to provide a fund of Rs 170 crore separately for redemption of bonds in 2016 and 2017 respectively.

While the corporation is earning only Rs 39 crore a month, its monthly expenditure on cash basis is about Rs 65 crore resulting to cash deficit of Rs 25 crore each month. Sources said the cash deficit was being met by diverting project funds and loans and the revenue of the MeCL is inadequate for it to meet its expenditure, which, therefore, made it difficult to buy power from Neepco or pay the pending dues. Against the unrestricted demand of 179MW, the availability of power is around 101.8MW resulting in a shortage of 77.2MW.

“The present shortage of power is mainly because of regulation of power by Neepco because of default in payment of power purchase dues by the MeECL. If Neepco deregulates power supply, an additional 37.7MW will be available and the shortfall will be 40.5MW and the load shedding will be reduced to four hours per day,” a source said.

The corporation resorted to load shedding in the entire Meghalaya between nine and 11 hours because of shortage of power. For Neepco to resume power supply, some payment will have to be made against the outstanding dues. The Meghalaya government has offered to pay Neepco a part payment of Rs 30 crore.

Sources said to address the problem of huge accumulated dues of the corporation, the Meghalaya government had opted for the financial restructuring plan of the Union ministry of power so that part of the short-term liabilities would be taken over by the state government and the rest will be restructured with the assistance of financial institutions.

However, the plan was available only upto June 2013, and a proposal in this regard could not be sent because of lack of audited accounts of the MeECL and its subsidiary companies. The state government had requested the ministry of power to extend upto June 2014 the submission of the proposal on the plan but there was no response from the ministry till date.

The sources said the corporation would require short-term loans in the nature of “bridge loan” to repay short-term liabilities and convert them into long-term loans.


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