Cloud with a dark lining

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    Nepalis have 24-hour electricity, but it has doubled our carbon footprint because of the import of thermal power

    At the end of his turbulent three-year tenure as India’s ambassador to Nepal Ranjit Rae told editors at a farewell reception last week that New Delhi had not been given due recognition for ending load-shedding.

    Rae reportedly rued that the new Managing Director of the Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) Kulman Ghising was getting all the credit.

    When one of the editors tweeted this, the outgoing Indian envoy was slammed on social media for implying that it was charity. ‘Nepal paying for the power,’ read one tweet.

    However, it appears to be true that India has gone out of its way to offer help with transmission lines that had been delayed for years, so the power could be imported. One NEA source told Nepali Times that India has been unusually accommodating after Pushpa Kamal Dahal became Prime Minister in August last year.

    “Ending load-shedding would not be possible in the dry season unless the transmission lines had been completed to import power,” he said, adding that although Ghising deserved credit for cutting off dedicated feeders to industries and controlling leakage it would not have been sufficient to end load-shedding in the dry season.

    Ghising would have had to reimpose power rationing if the 400 KV Dhalkebar-Muzaffarpur transmission line had not been completed in order to import power from India to meet this dry season’s shortfall.

    NEA was therefore able to buy 400 MW from India, up from 250 MW last year. Once two more 132 KV cross-border lines (Kusaha-Kataiya and Raxaul-Parwanipur) are completed later this year, Nepal can import even more power from India if needed.

    Power imports from India are temporary to tide over the current supply deficit, and the same transmission lines can in future be used to export Nepal’s surplus power to India. But for that Nepal would have to build several high dams to store monsoon water to generate sufficient electricity during the dry season to keep up with demand.

    Source: The Kathmandu Post