The Meghalaya Power Distribution Corporation Limited (MePDCL) has sought loan of Rs 200 crore from the Rural Electrification Corporation (REC) for implementation of smart meters and upgradation of existing static meters in the State.
According to sources, MePDCL has recently written to the REC requesting for term loan of Rs 200 crore with tenure of 15 years including moratorium of one year for interest payment and three years for principal repayment.
The MePDCL has also requested for favourable rate of interest since it is a power distribution company in Meghalaya.
It may be noted that employees of Meghalaya Energy Corporation Limited (MeECL) under the banner of Coordination Committee of Registered MeECL Associations and Unions (CCORMAU) have recently asked the State government to scrap the smart metering project in its present form.
The employees said that the smart metering project should be handed over to the Energy Efficiency Services Limited (EESL) which has the mandate to execute such project with zero investment from MePDCL under the National Smart Metering Programme of the Central government.
The process for the smart metering project has been strongly objected by the opposition Congress which alleged that the Conrad Sangma government put conditions in the tendering process to ensure that only one firm favoured by the government qualifies.
Congress had also said that the tendering process was not done in a fair manner where lots of companies, suppliers would be able to participate in a competitive manner.
The party also said the smart metering project was worth Rs 200 crore but the estimated cost was enhanced by 18 per cent, which comes to Rs 36 crore more or Rs 236 crore. It said that this was done to “fulfill the greed of few”.