January 06, 2020
Kathmandu: The proposed Electricity Bill once enacted will give local level governments the authority to select competent promoters to develop hydropower projects with capacity to generate less than three megawatts of power.
The draft of the bill states that local level governments will be allowed to issue the licence and award the contract to develop such projects to any promoter even if the bidding company does not have any prior experience in developing hydropower projects.
The bill further states that if the hydropower project falls in two adjoining local levels then the authority to make the decision for such projects will be transferred to the provincial government.
Moreover, if any hydropower project is located in two provinces then the central government will have the authority to make the decision. Until now all hydropower projects that have been developed or are being developed have been done as per decisions made by the central government.
The aforementioned provisions have been included as per the spirit of the federal governing system to share power and water resources among all three layers of governments.
On September 17, the Ministry of Energy, Water Resources and Irrigation had made public the draft of the new electricity bill for further discussions. At that time, the ministry had sought feedback and suggestions within 15 days, but the ministry has not been able to finalise the bill till date.
Once it is finalised by the ministry the bill will be forwarded to Federal Parliament for its endorsement.
“We hope to get the new Electricity Bill endorsed through the ongoing winter session of the Parliament,” informed Minister for Energy, Water Resources and Irrigation, Barsha Man Pun,
adding, the ministry has expedited discussions with concerned stakeholders including provincial and local governments and Independent Power Producers’ Association – Nepal.
Earlier, private developers had objected to the draft of the electricity bill, which has a provision to award hydropower projects to both government and foreign firms without them having to face any competition.
As per the draft bill, if any company which has a licence at present to build a hydropower project is unable to construct the project then the government will scrap its project licence and award the licence to other government or foreign firms.
Source: The Himalayan Times