MNRE Allows Digital Invoices for Renewable Generators Amid Covid-19 Resurgence

In the wake of the disruptive second wave of the Covid-19 across the country, the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) has announced that for renewable energy projects that are implemented from April 1, 2021, the submission of physical copies will be waived off. The implementing agencies will accept digital copies of the invoices.

The arrangement will continue for a period to be decided based on the Covid-19 developments in the coming weeks.

The Ministry decided to temporarily do away with hard copy submissions after it received representations from various stakeholders seeking relief on the grounds that submitting physical documents is increasingly getting difficult due to the pandemic-related restrictions and the lockdown measures being imposed in many states.

In April last year, MNRE had issued a similar memorandum, addressing problems that renewable energy generators were facing while invoicing for renewable energy supplied amid the virus outbreak.

As per the latest notification, during the period, in cases involving joint meter reading, where signing is difficult, soft copies of invoices based upon the self-meter readings by the renewable generators, duly substantiated by photographs of the meter reading and downloaded meter data, will be accepted.

In cases where the self-meter reading is not possible, the implementing agencies may choose to pay the bill based on the readings of the same month of the previous year or invoice of the previous month if it is lower.

Once the period for which this arrangement will be applicable ends, normal invoicing will be resumed, and within 15 days of the last date of such period, renewable energy projects will have to submit hard copies of invoices for this period for necessary adjustment in the subsequent bill.

During the first wave of the Covid-19 pandemic, MNRE had requested the state electricity regulatory commissions to allow the online listing of petitions and hear urgent matters through video conferencing. The Ministry’s move had come after it had received a letter from renewable energy developers, requesting it to issue an advisory to all the state commissions to start digital listing and hear important cases online.

Last year, the Solar Energy Corporation of India had also requested the state distribution companies and agencies to submit invoices digitally during the first wave of the Covid-19 pandemic.

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