Energy ministry told to table energy bills at the earliest


    MoEnKATHMANDU, Aug 19 : The Agriculture and Water Resources Committee of legislature-parliament on Tuesday directed the Ministry of Energy (MoE) to table Electricity Bill and Electricity Regulatory Bill in the parliament at the earliest.

    The Electricity Bill will replace the Electricity Act 1992 which is outdated, while the Electricity Regulatory Bill envisages forming a regulatory agency to regulate electricity prices by monitoring the cost of energy production, power purchase agreement, and transmission and distribution costs. 

    The government had tabled both the bills in the legislature-parliament before the house was dissolved in 2012. Lawmakers had made different suggestions on the bills. But they remained stuck at the legislative committee of the parliament with the dissolution of the Constituent Assembly.

    “Lawmakers had given dozens of suggestions on the bills. But those suggestions couldn´t be incorporated in the bills because of the reluctance of the then energy minister,” Gagan Thapa, member of the Agriculture and Water Resources Committee, said. 

    Thapa was the member of the legislative committee of the parliament which was dissolved in 2012.

    “I wonder why the MoE officials are reluctant to forward the bills to the parliament. These bills can be milestone for the development of energy sector,” he added.

    Officials say lawmakers had divided opinions on energy export in 2012. Now they unanimously agree that energy export is necessary for the national economy.

    The parliamentary Agriculture and Water Resources Committee has requested the Ministry of Energy to submit all the documents related to Power Trade Agreement (PTA) with India, including the one that the government recently sent to India as a response to a proposal document that India sent in June.

    The government was forced to stop a technical team of MoE from flying to New Delhi for holding preparatory dialogue for PTA after content of the proposal document send by India was leaked media. This halted the process to sign PTA with India.

    The committee also has asked the ministry to provide a bilateral energy trading agreement that Nepal signed in 1997 and another proposal for PTA sent to India by Nepal in 2010. It also sought information on the progress in PTA with the Minister for Energy Radha Kumari Gyawali and Energy Secretary Rajendra Kishore Kshatri. 

    India has requested the energy ministry to send its technical team to New Delhi for discussing the content of PTA.

    In the run up to the visit of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the committee had directed the government to sign PTA with India by safeguarding national interest. 

    The committee also has decided to invite vice-chairman of National Planning Commission Gobinda Raj Pokharel and officials of the Investment Board Nepal on Thursday to discuss on the content of Power Development Agreement (PDA) document for Upper Karnali Hydropower Project. A committee led by Pokharel is currently reviewing the document to make necessary suggestion to the government before signing agreement with project developer GMR.

    ´Upper Karnali will affect downstream projects´
    KATHMANDU (REPULICA): Minister for Irrigation N P Saud told the Agriculture and Water Resources Committee on Tuesday that his ministry has raised two important issues regarding the PDA of Upper Karnali (900 MW). 

    “Peaking project will badly affect downstream irrigation projects during dry months as the water flow in the downstream will be far lower than 322 cumec (cubic meter per second),” Saud said. 

    Ranijamara-Kularia Irrigation Project, Rajapur Irrigation Project and Surya Patuwa Irrigation Project are the downstream projects. As per the project design, they will be affected if water flow is lower than 322 cumec. “Investment-friendly decisions will not necessarily secure national interests,” he said, adding that decision makers should sign the deal only after studying the consequences.

    Source : Republica