The Telegraph
Thursday , May 8 , 2014
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Rain reprieve for energy corporation

Shillong, May 7: The skies opened, leading to a downpour and the beleaguered Meghalaya Energy Corporation Ltd (MeECL) heaved a sigh of relief. Finally, the run-of-the-river Myntdu-Leshka hydel power project was able to generate electricity to its maximum capacity.

The corporation has been in the eye of the storm ever since citizens had to withstand the worst of extensive power cuts.

However, in a major respite to the often-reprimanded corporation, the 126MW project in the Jaintia hills area — that solely relies on the mercy of nature — generated power to its maximum capacity this evening. “There has been heavy rainfall in the area since last night. Consequently, this afternoon the project was able to generate 70MW, but towards the evening it generated electricity to its maximum,” an official from the corporation said.

The MeECL has often been criticised for the 3x42MW hydel project. The Opposition UDP recently demanded a CBI probe into escalating cost of the project.

From February, power supply was regulated throughout the state. The MeECL last month declared that there was an “acute shortage of power and rapid depletion of water at the hydroelectric reservoirs of the state”.

There are at least six major hydel power stations in the state and water level at these stations drastically came down because of the heat experienced last month. But rain, which has blessed the state for the last few days, has come as a major reprieve.

Yesterday, the North Eastern Electric Power Corporation Ltd (Neepco) announced that it would lift the regulation of power to Meghalaya with effect from midnight.

The decision to lift the regulation was taken following a meeting held with the Union ministry of power on May 2 where it was decided that payment of Rs 30 crore along with post-dated cheques of Rs 20 crore each for three months will be made by the Meghalaya government which had given the assurance for making the payment.

However, the Union ministry of power would again review the matter on May 12. After de-regulation, the MeECL will be eligible to draw an additional power of 30MW during lean hours and up to 78MW during peak hours in addition to approximately 12MW of power being supplied to Meghalaya from the Kopili hydroelectric plant.

The MeECL has a total outstanding liability of Rs 1,745 crore with Rs 871 crore as an overdue for payment. The liabilities include dues for power purchase and transmission charges, which stand at Rs 482.9 crore. Of this, Rs 379.16 crore is due to Neepco alone.