Covid-19 lockdown: MNRE asks Discoms not to stop payments to renewable power producers

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The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) has clarified that Discoms must make payments to renewable power producers [for the purchases made] on a regular basis as was being done prior to the Covid-19 lockdown.

The ministry also clarified that renewable energy generating projects will continue to have “must run” status during the ongoing period of Covid-19 lockdown.

Notably, the ministry had received complaints from renewable energy generators that certain state Discoms had resorted to curtailing renewable power purchase while others completely termed prevailing situation as Force Majeure after the power ministry issued instructions providing a moratorium period to Discoms on payments to electricity producers.

National Solar Energy Federation of India (NSEFI) CEO Subrahmanyam Pulipaka told pv magazine: “States were reacting to the [power ministry] order in a wrong way and stopping payments or curtailing RE power.”

“The Ministry of Power initially ordered for a moratorium on conventional power payments pertaining to NTPC and other thermal generators, and power regulator Central Electricity Regulatory Commission (CERC) was directed to  use 1% late payment surcharge (LPSC) rate instead of 1.5% earlier only for the restricted period for projects in section 62 of the act where CERC determines tariff. For projects under Section 63, relief is as per PPA,” he explained.

While issuing the clarification on payments to RE generators, the MNRE said, “Since Discoms have already been given sufficient relief [with a moratorium period provided on payments to electricity producers] and as electricity from renewable energy generating stations comprises only a minor potion of the total electricity generation in the country, the payments to RE generators be done on regular basis as was being done prior to lockdown as per procedure established since 1.8.2019.”