Govt agencies owe Rs 195m in electricity bills to NEA

    247

    KATHMANDU, Feb 5:

    Nea_billDifferent government agencies owe the Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) more than Rs 195 million in electricity bills.

    The Ministry of Home Affairs tops the list of 21 government agencies, which includes 19 ministries, with outstanding dues of Rs 40 million until mid-July 2013. Health and local development ministries are in the second and third position with total dues of Rs 39 million and Rs 26 million, respectively.

    State agencies are not paying their electricity bills even though the government allocates budget for the purpose every year.

    Different ministries and government had cleared outstanding dues worth Rs 700 million to NEA when Gokarna Bista was at the helm of the Ministry of Energy. NEA could recover the amount after Bista initiated the campaign of disconnecting the electricity lines from government agencies having outstanding electricity bills.

    Talking to Republica, Arjun Karki, managing director of NEA, said efforts are on to recover dues from the government agencies. “We shouldn´t hamper public service by disconnecting electricity from government agencies,” he added.

    Though the government raised electricity tariff by 20 percent in August 2012, NEA suffered loss of Rs 4.56 billion in the fiscal year 2012/13. NEA is in the red the past six years.
    NEA´s total recoverable amount stands at Rs 7.35 billion until 2012/13. The amount was Rs 6.67 billion in the fiscal year 2011/12.

    As per the statistics of 2012/13, 2.4 million households owe Rs 3.21 billion to NEA. Likewise, the state-owned power utility is yet to recover Rs 1.31 billion from industries Rs 1.54 billion from local bodies for power consumed by street lights.

    Karki claimed that the amount increased because of rise in power consumption by street lights which also fall under the liability of the government. “We disconnect electricity lines of all other users, except government agencies, if they have dues of more than two months,” added Karki.

    Existing laws authorize NEA to disconnect electricity lines of consumers having outstanding electricity bills of more than two months. If consumers do not clear dues even within 180 days of disconnection of power lines, NEA will seize meter boxes. This means people have to go through the new process of installing power lines.

    The campaign started by former minister Bista brought down NEA´s recoverable amount by Rs 610 million to Rs 7.28 billion in 2010/2011. However, other ministers who followed Bista didn´t give continuity to the campaign. As a result, total recoverable amount increased by Rs 660 million in 2012/13 to Rs 7.35 billion.

    Source : Republica