KATHMANDU, Aug 22: The Energy Ministry has unveiled a plan to limit power cuts to a maximum of 12 hours a day for the coming winter. Load shedding last year reached up to 16 hours.
The meeting of secretaries from the Finance and Energy Ministries with Prime minister Dr Baburam Bhattarai Wednesday agreed to limit power cut hours this winter to 12 hours a day.
“We presented the facts and figures and a to-do list to the PM, and he agreed to support the plan and directed us to press ahead,” said Anup Upadhyay, joint secretary at the Ministry of Energy, who attended the meeting.
The meeting attended by the PM, the chief secretary, the finance and energy secretaries, officials from Nepal Electricity Authority and some other officials from both ministries discussed strategy to reduce load shedding to 12 hours a day in the coming winter.
There was up to 16 hours of load shedding last year and it has been projected that things could be worse this year if efforts are not geared up now onwards. “It´s not possible to bring it below 12 hours a day but if the conditions presented by the ministry are met we can make it happen,” added Joint-secretary Upadhyay.
Electricity generation is very low compared to demand. According to data from NEA, demand increases by 100 MW every year but production growth is negligible. According to NEA, demand in the country is about 1,000 MW but energy availability is hardly 700 MW in summer and only about 400 MW in winter.
The Energy Ministry plan, if implemented, would help manage 150 MW more during winter and that would result in load shedding not exceeding 12 hours.
The multi-fuel plants in Duhabi and Hetauda are not in operation now as the fuel cost is high. Officials have asked the government to manage the fuel for operations during winter. These plants could generate about 50 MW.
Likewise, if a 15 km transmission line is installed from Kushaha to Kataiya in the eastern region the country can import 35 MW additional electricity from India during winter.
The government should take a decision through the cabinet to fast-track the construction and skip the normal bidding process.
Officials at the Energy Ministry, quoting the PM, said he agreed to do whatever was mentioned in the plan in order to reduce power cuts, stating this was a priority for the nation.
Energy Ministry´s demands
Cabinet decision for fast-track construction asap of a 15-km transmission line to carry electricity from India during winter, skipping the bidding process
Manage funds for fuel for multi-fuel plants in Duhabi and Heatuda which are not in operation currently
Solve local problems for constructing of Khimti-Dhalkebar transmission line immediately to reduce electricity leakage by about 10 MW
Release funds as needed to control leakage
High-level initiative from the government to buy more electricity from India during winter
Closer cooperation among ministries to expedite work on hydro projects