After load-shedding shock, James to call on Delhi

SHILLONG, March 2: Power Minister James Sangma would be meeting Union Power Minister RK Singh on Wednesday to tide over a fresh spell of power cuts in Meghalaya.
The decision, following a meeting Chief Minister Conrad Sangma chaired on Tuesday to discuss the situation, came a day after the sudden regulation of power by the National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) that made the Meghalaya Energy Corporation Limited (MeECL) impose load-shedding.
The Power Minister told journalists after the meeting that certain issues regarding the letter of credit for the NTPC led to the load-shedding.
The state plunged into darkness after the MeECL imposed a six-hour power cut from Monday midnight.
The MeECL had imposed a similar load-shedding two weeks ago. But the MDA government claimed to have resolved the issue within an unprecedented 72 hours.
During Tuesday’s meeting, the state government discussed the way to end the load-shedding problem.
“We have decided that I will meet the Union Power Minister to discuss the difficulties and challenges which we as a state are facing and the need to make sure that the regulation by NTPC can be withdrawn at the earliest,” James Sangma said.
Noting that the load-shedding has come at a time when students are preparing for their board exams, the Power Minister said: “It is unfortunate that NTPC acted in this way despite the state government availing the Atmanirbhar loan and looking to clear the dues.”
He said he would apprise Singh of the difficulties Meghalaya has been facing because of the impact of COVID-19 on the state’s resources. Sangma had earlier cited the Centre’s order requiring all distribution companies to make a letter of credit against the dues payable to generating companies. This letter of credit is placed with the regional load dispatch centre, which schedules power after receiving information from generating companies.
Informing that the MeECL has already placed a letter of credit with NTPC to the tune of Rs 18 crore, Sangma said that this letter of credit was encashed by the NTPC because of certain fixed charges as outstanding dues.
“Because this letter of credit was encashed, they asked MeECL to give a new one in place of the encashed letter of credit. The NTPC went ahead and blocked the portal and the load dispatching centre is unable to schedule power to MeECL,” he explained.

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