LETTERS | Meghalaya power scenario: Where are we now?


By Steffi Sangma

The ongoing August House Session of the Meghalaya Legislative Assembly is shedding light on the achievements and the progressive improvements concerning electricity connections to every nook and corner of the state and power crisis because of accumulating prolonged unresolved issues and so on.

As we speculate the various short duration discussions regarding the Meghalaya Energy Corporation Limited (MeECL) and the Power Department at large, it is conspicuous that there has been a tremendous improvement on different levels be it the increasing number of households or consumers in terms of electricity connection, billing efficiency, decreasing power theft that leads to revenue loss to the already debt-ridden sector, reduction in the late payment of ills, etc.

It is interesting to learn about the Power Purchase Agreement that the Congress-led Meghalaya Democratic Alliance (MDA) government signed in 2007 with the National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC).


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Can we term this a dull-witted signing, keeping in mind the various unreasonable clauses?

It is a strange situation as we have not been taking power from the NTPC since 2017. Yet, today, the NTPC could stop the Meghalaya government from taking power from other companies and Meghalaya has to purchase power at Rs 5.07 per unit from NTPC, which is much higher than the prevailing market rate.

The state government, MeECL, and consumers have to bear the brunt of the 2007 agreement.

In the not so short duration discussion as mentioned by Power Minister James P.K Sangma, he brought forward various results that the Power Sector has achieved viz., 3.23 lakh new consumers have got electricity connection under the Meghalaya Democratic Alliance government’s rule in the last three years as compared to the period between 2010 and 2018 (under the Congress government), only 1.07 lakh consumers were added.

Also, the billing distribution efficiency has improved from 62 per cent last year to 73 per cent at the moment under the new CMD. The bill collection efficiency is 97 per cent, and the government is trying to rectify all the issues by bringing in interventions.


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On the installation of smart meters, the Power Minister said the corporation has mooted to install these meters in rural areas where reports of Aggregate Technical & Commercial (AT&C) losses are maximum. He added that the state government availed the Asian Development Bank (ADB) loan to install smart meters. Eighty per cent of the amount is a grant, and the state government has to pay 9.5 per cent interest on only 20 per cent of the amount.

The Power minister also informed the House that the government has proposed to bring in interventions to prevent illegal hooking (of power) besides mooting options of leasing out maintenance to private players to improve operational maintenance.

Although the MeECL is facing issues passed on from previous governments, financial crisis and frequent power regulation from power generating and distribution companies; they are trying their best, and the results are showing.

Looking forward to more achievements with a hope that the MeECL will attend to the irregularities and not look back to the past to criticise instead, learn from experience and may this be their “Modus operandi”.