Mizoram, April 29: Amid raging wildfires, COVID-19 surge, death, devastation, and disease, Mizoram is also reeling under an acute electricity crisis with over Rs 130 crore due to six public sector undertakings (PSUs) for purchase of power. This is because the state government has not received its fund share from the Centre, state power and electricity minister R. Lalzirliana said.
The fund crunch came to light when two PSUs – North Eastern Electric Power Corporation Limited (NEEPCO) and National Hydroelectric Power Corporation Limited (NHPC) – sent letters to the Mizoram power and electricity department, asking it to pay dues amounting to more than Rs 44 crore, failing which the companies warned to cash the “Letter of Credit” (LC) and disrupt the power supply to the power-deficit state.
Mizoram purchases about 85 percent of electric power from outside. Six PSUs supply power to Mizoram, including NEEPCO, NHPC, National Thermal Power Corporation Limited (NTPC), ONGC Tripura Power Company Limited (OTPC) and Power Grid Corporation of India Limited (PGCIL).
According to Lalzirliana, outstanding dues to the state government payable to the six PSUs as of Wednesday stand at Rs 133.38 crore.
He said that more than Rs 96 crore is pending with the state exchequer for clearance while an expenditure sanction of Rs 37.31 crore is being sought from the state finance department. He added that the state government faced a fund crunch because it could not receive its state share from the Central government due to the outbreak of COVID-19.
According to the minister, Mizoram consumes about 107 Megawatt power during peak hours and 48.5 Megawatt during the off-peak period. The state’s power generation is minimal, he said.
He said the state government is making effort to stabilize the situation and pay its dues to the PSUs to ensure an uninterrupted power supply.
According to data accessed from the state power and electricity department, the state’s outstanding dues to NEEPCO now stand at Rs 59.27 crore, Rs 33.72 crore to NTPC, Rs 1.45 crore to NHPC, Rs 12.34 crore to PGCIL, Rs 19.88 crore to OTPC, and Rs 6.72 crore is due to Tripura Power Generation Limited (TPGL).
On average, the state government used to spend Rs 32-33 crore a month for the purchase of power.
The state power and electricity department had generated Rs 247.76 crore revenue during fiscal 2019-2020. In the 2020-2021 annual budget, Rs 430 crore was allocated to the power and electricity department and Rs 300 crore in the current fiscal 2021-2022.
Due to overlapping, the department failed to clear its dues in time, according to officials. According to the new guidelines issued by the Ministry of Power on March 18, if current dues remain unpaid beyond 45 days of billing, the LC will invariably be cashed.
Power supply will start only if there is a valid LC or advance payment is made by the Dicoms (states), it said.
In its letter on April 20, the NEEPCO said outstanding dues payable by the Mizoram government as of April 19 stood at Rs 42.49 crore, out of which Rs 9.71 crore is outstanding for more than 45 days.
Further, another Rs 11.28 crore dues will cross 45 days on April 25, the letter said. The NHPC also said that the total outstanding dues of the Mizoram government have accumulated to Rs 2.49 crore on April 14, out of which Rs 1.42 crore is due for more than 45 days.
Both the PSUs warned that they would proceed with encashment of LC if the state government fails to pay within a stipulated time.