Contractor okays Dhalkebar project October deadline

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    Aug 6, 2017-

    Central Power Grid International Economic and Trade Corporation, the Chinese contractor that is working on 220 kV Substation Project at Dhalkebar has agreed to meet the completion deadline of October 2017.

    The contractor of the project had stopped all work at the construction site a couple of weeks ago without formally informing Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA), the state-owned power utility and the owner of the substation. Although, the Chinese contractor  resumed the construction of crucial substation a week later, it was carrying out the work at a snail’s pace, raising doubts over project completion well before the upcoming dry season to enable the country to increase electricity imports from India.

    The Chinese contractor agreed to meet the deadline, after a high-level team under the leadership of Energy Minister Mahendra Bahadur Shahi, Energy Secretary Anup Kumar Upadhyay and NEA Kulman Ghising visited the construction site on Saturday and asked the Chinese contractor to start the construction work at war footing and complete the job on time.

    The representative of Power Grid Corporation of India, the consultant of the project present in the meeting also agreed to provide final drawing of the cable trench required for the project to the contractor on Sunday to expedite the construction.

    “Similarly, Minister Shahi asked the contractor to report any work related problems that have not been solved from the project level directly to him and promised to solve them as soon as possible,” said a NEA official present in the site during the visit.

    If the project is not completed by October, it will hit the power utility’s plan to increase electricity imports from India via Dhalkebar-Muzaffarpur cross-border transmission line during the dry season.

    NEA has repeatedly said it will be difficult to keep the country load-shedding free during the upcoming dry season if the substation at Dhalkebar is not completed immediately. Nepal’s electricity demand is expected to increase by around 200 MW then.

    Even though the country’s installed capacity of hydroelectricity is expected to go up by additional 130MW during upcoming dry season, power generation is expected to drop by a third around that time when water level goes down in most of the river basins.

    But if the 220 kV substation is built at Dhalkebar by that time, the country can import another 100 MW of power from India using the Dhalkebar-Muzaffarpur cross-border transmission line. Currently, the cross-border transmission line has the capacity to import 160 MW of electricity. As per the deal signed between NEA and the Chinese company in June 2014, the substation should have been up and running by September 2015. But the deadline was continuously pushed back. The October deadline was extended recently.

    Source: The Kathmandu Post