New Delhi: In the midst of the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) has allowed renewable energy (RE) projects having commissioning date on or after April 1, 2021, to claim extension. However, the ministry has added, "The actual quantum of time-extension shall be decided in due course depending on the COVID-19 related developments that take place in the coming weeks." The MNRE order comes on Thursday in the wake of requests received from RE power project developers due to disruptions caused by the second wave of COVID-19 infections.
"Representations have again been received in the Ministry for seeking time-extension on the grounds that there has been resurgence of COVID-19, leading to several States/UTs issuing instructions restricting mobility of people," said the MNRE.
The time extension will, however, be granted on certain conditions, said the MNRE. "As a measure of relief to RE projects so that they can deal with difficulties arising out of the restrictions imposed on account of the second COVID-19 surge, it has been decided that RE projects, being implemented through Implementing Agencies designated by the MNRE or under various schemes of the MNRE, having their Scheduled Commissioning Date (SCD) on or after 1st April 2021 will be eligible to claim time-extension for completion of their project activities, provided such time-extensions are not used as a ground for claiming termination of Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) or for claiming any increase in the project cost," it said.
In a separate order released on Thursday, the MNRE also allowed RE power projects to submit digital invoices instead of physical copies in the wake of the movement restrictions imposed in various parts of the country due to COVID-19. "… as a measure of relief to RE projects, it has been decided that, for RE projects being implemented through MNRE designated implementing agencies, from 1st April 2021 the requirement of submission of physical hard copies is waived off and the implementing agencies will accept soft copies of invoices. This arrangement shall continue for a period to be decided in due course depending on the COVID-19 related developments that take place in the coming weeks," said the ministry.
"During this period, in cases involving Joint Meter Reading (JMR) where signing of JMR is difficult, soft copies of invoices based upon the self meter readings by RE power generators, duly substantiated by photographs of the meter reading/ downloaded meter data, may be accepted. In cases where such self-meter reading is also not possible, or as an alternative, implementing agencies may choose to pay on the basis of invoice for the same month of the previous year or invoice for the previous month, if it is lower. This shall however be subject to subsequent truing up based on actual meter reading," said the order. The MNRE added that normal invoicing will resume once the said period is over and within 15 days of the last date of such period.