Electricity worth Rs 120 million export daily

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KATHMANDU, June 28: Minister for Energy, Water Resources and Irrigation Pampha Bhusal has said, before the federal parliament on Monday, that the country has been exporting electricity worth Rs 100 to 120 million to India on a daily basis. Replying to a question raised by the members of the National Assembly on the issues related to the ministry in the policy, program and budget for the upcoming fiscal year, Minister Bhusal said that Nepal has been daily selling up to 364 MW of electricity to the Indian market.

“The average export rate so far this monsoon has been Rs 11.38 per unit,” said Minister Bhusal. “During the rainy season of the upcoming fiscal year, it is very much possible to export electricity worth about 15 to 20 billion Nepali rupees.”

Minister Bhusal has claimed that there is a possibility of exporting more than Rs 70 billion worth of electricity every year in the next five years. Bhusal, acknowledging the fact that the private sector has been making a significant contribution to electricity production in the country, stated that the process of allowing the private sector to take part in the cross-country electricity trade had been taken forward. The process would enable private businesses to export their surplus electricity.

The government has been implementing an action plan to gradually replace LP gas in households with electric stoves under the slogan ‘Leave foreign gas, connect domestic electricity’. In addition to this, in attempts to supply quality electricity to industrial consumers, the 132 kV/33 kV substation and transmission line structures have been expanded and upgraded.

Minister Bhusal also disclosed that the country has had to import electricity from India to meet the domestic demands during the dry season. “The average price of electricity imported from India to meet the country’s domestic demands during the dry season was Rs 9.7 per unit,” she reported. The minister added that from the perspective of energy security, it was necessary to build reservoirs.

Minister Bhusal said that the land acquisition and use of forest areas were the main challenges for the construction of the electricity transmission line. “The land compensation program for the land acquired for the construction of the 1,200-megawatt Budhigandaki Hydropower Project is almost complete. The compensations for houses and cowsheds are being distributed.” “The construction process of this project, which happens to be one of the National Pride Project, will begin in the upcoming fiscal year after setting up a company that would be tasked to complete the project.”

She also reported that Nepal Electricity Authority will have completed the construction of 50 charging stations within the end of the current fiscal year. “Arrangements have been made to supply transformers and necessary electrical infrastructures for the charging stations being constructed by the private sector,” she said before the National Assembly.

The minister also committed to providing reliable and quality electricity service to all Nepali people within the next two years. “Arrangements have been made to provide free electricity service and connection to electric meters to the needy citizens that consume up to 20 units of electricity per month,” she said. Out of 5.2 million consumers of electricity across the country, about 2.6 million have got this facility.

Minister Bhusal mentioned that a 75 percent concession had been applied to electricity used for irrigation after which the tariff rate has become Rs. 2 per unit and similarly the tariff imposed on households had also been reduced to encourage the use of electric stoves. She also said that demand charges for drinking water and irrigation have also been removed.

“Energy charges in drinking water have been reduced by about 50 per cent. While the prices of the majority of goods and services have been increasing, the electricity tariff rate has been reduced by 20 per cent two times in the last two years,” she said.