Daily power cuts may exceed

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    KATHMANDU, FEB 24 –

    LoadsheddingConsumers are likely to witness an increase in load shedding hours in the days to come as two major hydropower projects are suffering from mechanical problems, affecting the total power generation in the country. However, officials at the Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA), the country’s sole power utility, have not commented on the upcoming power outage schedule.

    The Kaligandaki ‘A’ Hydro Electricity Project, the country’s largest hydropower project with an installed capacity of 144 megawatt, has been suffering from technical problems in the turbine, including the leakage of water from pipes joining the water flow from the tunnel to the turbine for more than five years. It is now ready to undergo repair work later this week. According to Abadesh Kumar Jha, Kaligandaki project chief, the powerhouse, which is now generating only around 60MW, will completely halt power generation from next week onwards for at least 10 days owing to repair work. There are three Francis turbines installed in the powerhouse with each carrying capacity of 48MW.

    “To conduct a turbine overhaul, we need to de-water them so power generation will be stopped,” said Jha. He further said that technical problems had been continuing for a long time and repair works is being carried out to avoid a bigger disaster in the future. The powerhouse has already obtained the equipment required for maintenance from Japan, according to officials.

    Similarly, one of the two units at Kulekhani I with an installed capacity of 60MW, the only reservoir-type hydroelectric power station in the country, has been malfunctioning since Monday following a short-circuit of a cable. According to authorities, the hydropower project is only generating half its capacity and will be undergoing repair work for a week, affecting the overall power generation of the country. This is the second time in the last four months that power generation has been halved due to similar problems.

    When contacted, Bhuwan Chhetri, chief of the Load Dispatch department at NEA , said that he had no information on the mechanical and technical problems associated with both the Kaligandaki and Kulekhani projects and hence, was unable to comment on the prospect of an increase in load shedding hours, which currently stands at 12 hours, in the coming days.

    According to NEA statistics, the current peak power demand is over 1,000 MW while supply stands at around 700 MW. Both the Kaligandaki and Kulekhani projects were constructed with the loan aid of the Asian Development Bank and the Japan International Cooperation Agency.

    Source : The Kathmandu Post