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Power Crisis: CM Conrad Sangma warns of increasing costs

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Shillong, June 6: Chief Minister Conrad K. Sangma on Tuesday said the government will have to spend an additional Rs 300 crore to buy power if the present situation continues in the next 100 days.

Sangma told reporters that on an average in the last two years, the government is spending approximately Rs 600 crore of the state’s revenue to pay for different expenditures including purchase of power from MeECL’s point of view to maintain the current power levels.

“We are purchasing close to Rs 3 crore of power every day even now considering the kind of scenario we are facing today. Hence, if the situation continues in the next 100 days, we will be spending an additional of Rs 300 crore just to buy power, just to maintain this level of load loadshedding that we have,” he said.

Stating that the situation is very complicated, the chief minister however said, “But we are doing our best to ensure that the load shedding doesn’t go beyond this.”

Referring to the decrease in the water level of the Umiam Lake, Sangma said that it is almost at a point of shutting down as the state has not been receiving the required rainfall in the past few months, adding this has been one of the most difficult months in terms of rain for the state.

Also stating that the power scenario is also bad in most parts of the country today, he said, “Almost every state is facing a similar crisis which we are facing. That’s because, as I said, the rains are affecting everybody and the overall scenario is bad everywhere.”

The chief minister said that his government is trying its best to address the situation and hoping for rains to come.

Asserting the need to augment the measures to increase power production in the state, Sangma said the solar measure will be one of those measures but it will take time.

“But as we move forward, I am hopeful that in the next two-three years we will see more inputs from the solar power into the decentralised system of the houses and homes which we can then have it on solar as a backup,” he added.

He said the government is also working very closely with the thermal producing plants because “we are keen that now that licenses for mining are being given, we are hopeful that we are able to start the thermal plants also and that maybe a long-term solution that we may see in the next 3-4 years’ time.”

“So, we are taking some very strong steps towards it. But, yes, these few months we had in the past and the current time also is very difficult for us. I won’t hesitate in saying that this is one of the most difficult times that MeECL has faced because of multiple aspects,” he further added.

Expressing concern over the issue related to the rates, Sangma said the State does not have full power to determine the rates that are being charged by the MeECL since the same is being determined by the regulatory commission.

According to him, due to this, consumers are paying more than the industries. The consumers are paying power at the rate of Rs 6 whereas industries at Rs 5.

“These are rates that are being set up by the regulatory commission despite repeated requests that the industries should pay more. We have not got a positive result or a response from them so we are still working with them and we are trying to resolve these issues and also the rates that are being charged from consumers is much lower compared to the cost that MeECL is bearing today.”

“Hence, these things have to be changed if we want to see any kind of long term improvement in the financial health of the MeECL,” he stated.

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