Ncell surrenders to NEA pressure


January 11, 2021

Kathmandu: After running its Pokhara data centre on generator since January 3 when Nepal Electricity Authority cut power supply to the centre for not clearing its bills amounting to Rs 138 million, Ncell today agreed to clear the dues in instalments.

According to Tek Nath Tiwari, Nepal Electricity Authority’s chief for Gandaki Province, the telecom company has agreed to pay its remaining dues worth Rs 138 million in 14 instalments.

“We reached an agreement to this effect on Friday.

According to the agreement, Ncell will pay Rs 10 million every month for the next 12 months and the remaining Rs 8 million will be cleared in the last month,” Tiwari said. Of the total due payment, Ncell has transferred Rs 10 million to the NEA account as the first instalment. After the agreement was signed, NEA restored power to the Ncell data centre in Pokhara where most of Ncell’s data is stored.

According to Tiwari, Ncell had requested the power utility to allow it to clear its remaining dues in instalments.

Despite the agreement, both the parties have to go to the court on January 13 for a hearing on a case related to the issue. “We have all the evidence and we are ready for the hearing. We believe that the court will not take any decision that goes against the policies of NEA,” Tiwari told THT.

Meanwhile, Ncell Corporate Communications Head Bisakha Khadka claimed that NEA forced her company to pay Rs 10 million as collateral to resume power supply to the data Centre. She said her company paid the said amount as it did not have any other option since the electricity had been cut for six days. Incidentally, Khadka didn’t want to be named as the source for the official version from Ncell. However, as a matter of policy, THT has named her to give credibility to the Ncell side of the story.

NEA had cut off power to Ncell’s Pokhara data centre on January 3 after the company’s officials disregarded repeated calls to clear the dues.

Even before that, NEA had asked Ncell to sit for talks to settle the due payment.

However, Ncell didn’t respond for a long time, forcing the power utility to cut off power supply, Tiwari added.

Source: THT