Shillong, Mar 11 (PTI) Meghalaya Power Minister James PK Sangma on Thursday said 3.23 lakh new consumers have got electricity connection under the Meghalaya Democratic Alliance government's rule in the last three years.
The minister replying to a short duration discussion in the Assembly on the prevailing power crisis in the state said Meghalaya Electricity Corporation Ltd (MeECL) is facing issues passed by successive governments in the past.
'The MeECL is facing issues passed on from successive governments in the past. We are trying our best and the results are showing. We now have added 3.23 lakh new households as new consumers,' the power minister said.
'As compared to the period between 2010 and 2018 (under the Congress government), only 1.07 lakh consumers were added,' he said.
The MeECL which was facing a financial crisis and facing frequent power regulation from power generating and distribution companies had availed a Rs 1,345 crore #Atmanirbhar loan earlier this year to pay the dues of the power companies.
According to the minister, the billing distribution efficiency has improved from 62 per cent last year to 73 per cent at the moment under the new CMD.
He also said that bill collection efficiency is 97 per cent and that the government is trying to rectify all the issues by bringing in interventions.
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.
He said the MeECL is also contemplating monetising the huge area of land under the corporation in the state.
'MeECL has huge land banks. Many areas are encroached.
Board is looking to monetise these assets and create revenue to help infuse liquidity, he said.
On the installation of smart meters, the power minister said the corporation has mooted to install these meters in rural areas where reports of power losses are maximum.
He said the state government availed the Asian Development Bank loan to instal smart meters. Eighty per cent of the amount is grant and the state government has to pay 9.5 per cent interest on only 20 per cent of the amount. PTI JOP RG RG