Anup Kumar Upadhyay tipped to head electricity commission

Ministry of Energy

Jan 3, 2019-Kathamandu

The government is set to appoint former energy secretary Anup Kumar Upadhyay as chair of the powerful Nepal Electricity Regulatory Commission that will oversee the country’s energy sector. A committee formed to select the chairman and members of the commission recommended Upadhyay’s name to the government. The Energy Ministry has sent the proposal to the Cabinet for its approval.

The selection panel led by Irrigation Secretary Sanjay Sharma picked Ram Prasad Dhital, Rameshor Prasad Kalwar, Ram Krishna Khatiwada and Bhagirathi Gyawali as members of the commission, according to a ministry official. “We registered the proposal recommending the aforesaid five candidates at the Cabinet on Tuesday,” said the source. “The next Cabinet meeting will likely appoint the chairman and members of the commission.”

Eighteen hopefuls had applied for the top positions at the Nepal Electricity Regulatory Commission. Five applicants including two former energy secretaries—Anup Kumar Upadhyay and Shree Ranjan Lakaul—applied for the post of chairman while 13 others submitted applications to become members of the commission. Upadhyay recently resigned as energy secretary so that he could apply for the position of the chair.

The ministry initiated the process of setting up the commission to regulate the energy sector more than a year after an act paving the way for its establishment was passed by forming the selection committee. Energy Minister Barsha Man Pun formed the committee several months ago to recommend the names of the office bearers.
The Nepal Electricity Regulatory Commission will supersede the existing Electricity Tariff Fixation Commission and set the charges that customers will have to pay to the Nepal Electricity Authority, the state-owned power utility. The commission will fix the electricity tariff after holding a public hearing.
The commission will also establish a code that various entities under its jurisdiction will have to follow. The code will specify standards for the construction of hydropower plants, transmission lines and distribution networks. It will also determine the voltage that will be supplied to customers by the utility.
The commission will also have a full mandate to determine the power purchase rate for the state-owned power utility. At present, the Nepal Electricity Authority is the sole buyer of electricity in Nepal, and it has been fixing the rate for the purchase of electricity from hydropower projects. Also, the power utility has to obtain the commission’s approval to sign power purchase agreements with project developers.
Bibek Subedi
Source: The Kathmandu Post