Electricity worth Rs 10 billion imported in 2014/15

KATHMANDU, Aug 18: Nepal imported Rs 10 billion worth of hydropower in Fiscal Year 2014/15 – a rise of 24 percent compared to figures of 2013/14.State-owned Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) imported 1,369 GWh (1.36 billion units) of hydropower from India in the review year. Total energy import is higher than what NEA buys from independent power producers of the country. NEA had purchased 1,268 GWh (1.26 billion units) of hydropower from independent power producers in 2014/15. Its power plants generated 2365 GWh or 2.36 billions of units of electricity in the review year.

NEA had increased its energy import from India after power generation of Upper Bhotekoshi Hydroelectric Project (45 MW) and some other small power plants was affected after a transmission line in Jure of Sindhupalchowk was washed away by landslide in August last year. It took more than four months to reconnect transmission line to evacuate power generated by those projects.

The annual report of NEA to be made public on Tuesday also attributes damages caused by the earthquake of April 25 as the other reason behind rise in its import bill.

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Around 80 MW of hydropower, or 11 percent of total installed capacity, generated by different projects, including Upper Bhotekoshi, is still to be connected to the national grid. Officials of Independent Power producers Association of Nepal (IPPAN) say it might take around a year to repair Upper Bhotekoshi Hydroelectric Project.

NEA officials say its import bill will increase further in 2015/16.

As per the bilateral agreement with India, Nepal imports electricity from Power Trade Corporation at the rate of IRs 3.95 per unit, and from Bihar State Trading Company at IRs 5.5 per unit. Difference in price rates as well as technical loss of about 25 percent on imported electricity is the major factor that has pushed NEA into red. NEA has posted net loss of Rs 6.4 billion in 2014/15. Its accumulated loss over the past five years is in tune of Rs 27.5 billion.

“Precipitation is not good this year. Rivers won’t have sufficient water for the coming dry months which means more electricity has to be imported,” Khadga Bahadur Bisht, president of IPPAN, said. He also said the earthquake will further delay Upper Tamakoshi Hydropower Project which will increase our dependency on imports from India.

Energy generated by Sanima Mai Hydropower (22 MW) and Rurukhola Hydropower (5 MW) were connected to the national grid in 2014/15. But Sanima Mai hasn’t been able to start full-fledged operatio due to delay in development of high capacity transmission line to evacuate power generated by it.

Electricity imports not included in import figures

Electricity import figures have not been recorded in country’s overall imports.

Kilaraj Gyawali, director of Department of Customs (DoC), said they do not include energy import figures as customs duty is not levied on such imports. We don’t know how much electricity is imported by NEA, he added.

An official at Trade and Export Promotion Center say electricity import figure is not recorded as electricity is not recognized as a commodity.

Source : Republica