The Ministry Of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) through its Office Order dated 1st April 2020 has issued a clarification on the working of renewable energy plants across the country amid the lockdown due to COVID-19. The development came in after the MoP issued instructions to all the state discoms providing a moratorium period for payment to all the electricity generating companies amidst the lockdown period.

Following the announcement, the MNRE received several representations from renewable energy generators stating that their plants were getting curtailed by the DISCOMs citing the order issued by MoP mentioned above.

Looking at the situation, MNRE made an announcement clarifying that all the renewable energy plants will continue to be considered as “must-run” during the lockdown as well. It also made it clear that since the renewable energy plants constitute very less portion of the overall energy requirement of the nation, the payments to the RE generators should be done on a regular basis as per provisions of the order dated 1st August 2019.

Through a separate communication, clarification is also being notified by MNRE with respect to the invoicing procedure to be followed considering the disruptions in submitting the hard copies of the invoices due to lockdown. The requirement of the hardcopy based invoice submission has been waived and invoice submission through email is considered acceptable for the purpose of payment consideration. For more details, kindly read the MNRE notification attached herewith. 

Earlier, in August 2019, the Central Electricity Authority published a list of payment dues by the DISCOMs to individual RE generators which added up to be 8231.8 Crs. The DISCOMs have thus been asked to make regular payments to the generators as per the procedure being followed prior to the lockdown. 

It may also be noted that the lockdown across the nation has resulted in national electricity demand reducing by as much as 30% (as reported by POSOCO, the national grid operator) leaving the grid operators with a challenge to ensure uninterrupted power supply to everyone during these difficult times and simultaneously safeguard reliable grid operations.