The Meghalaya Energy Corporation Ltd (MeECL) is at the end of its tether with JUD Cement and has warned the company that it will cut off its power due to crores of rupees in unpaid bills.
The battle of the bills has even landed the two parties in the High Court, which approved a schedule of periodic payments that the cement firm must adhere to in order to clear its pending dues.
However, in a notice to the company, which has a 400 acre plant in Narpuh, East Jaiñtia Hills, the MeECL said that JUD Cement has been in violation of the court order.
According to the power utility, JUD Cement was ordered by the court to pay an approximate amount of Rs 1.56 crore by December 20, 2022 but was short by Rs 11.56 lakh (having paid Rs 1.45 crore).
The company’s total outstanding electricity bill is a whopping Rs 19.21 crore (not including December 2022’s bill) and it has not been able to clear this either, the MeECL said.
“The act on the part of the company is in gross violation and in contempt of the aforesaid order passed by the High Court of Meghalaya,” the Director of Distribution at the MeECL subsidiary MePDCL, M Shangpliang, wrote to JUD Cement, adding that the latter must make payment towards the outstanding amount immediately, failing which the utility will cut its electricity supply within 15 days.
On October 21, 2021, MePDCL disconnected the electricity supply to the JUD Cement plant for non-payment of energy bills amounting to Rs 18.72 crore. However, power was restored to the cement plant that same evening.
JUD Cement on October 21 sought one day’s time from the Meghalaya High Court to comply with the order of the court passed on October 7 of that year.
Last month, the MeECL said that two cheques from JUD Cement amounting to several lakhs of rupees had bounced when the utility tried to cash them.
The non-payment of massive electricity bills is one of the reasons that the state-owned MeECL has been struggling with its own finances for many years.