March 3, 2020
Kathmandu: Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) that has been criticized for failing to recover the dues of dedicated feeders and trunk lines from number of big industrialists, has now started pressurizing number of factories operating in the Butwal-Bhairahawa Industrial Corridor to clear the dues on the same headings.
Speaking at a program organized by the Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industry on Monday, industrialists said that, the NEA in its latest move, has now forwarded letters to 22 industries in the industrial corridor, asking the factories to settle the bills of dedicated feeders and trunk lines that have not be cleared for the past three years. The state-owned power utility charges users of dedicated lines, 66.67% more than the normal rate. The industrialists blamed the NEA for taking ad hoc decision on the dedicated lines which they have never used.
Suman Bhusal, proprietor of SR Steels in Butwal, said that the NEA has asked 16 out of 22 industries in the location to pay the bills of dedicated feeder that has remained due since past one year. “Likewise, the remaining six firms have been asked to pay the bills due of the dedicated lines since 2016/17,” said Bhusal.
Bhusal claimed that, the NEA through the bills issued for the industries for mid December-mid January, has asked the firms to clear the dues of dedicated lines for the past 20 months. “Over the period, the firms had been paying bills at the normal rate and were never informed on the matter of supplying electricity via the dedicated feeders and trunk lines,” he said.
The NEA charges industries using the privilege, to settle electricity bills at Rs 17 per unit. The users of electricity from normal grids pay only Rs 8-10 per unit. “Based on the outstanding dues that the NEA is trying to impose, the firms’ will face excess liability of millions of rupees,” said Dhruba Kumar Shrestha, vice chairman of Panchakanya Group.
In June 2015, a board meeting of the Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA), had set a premium tariff for factories using electricity through dedicated feeders and trunk lines from August that year. Citing power outage problem at that time, the NEA had decided to impose additional fee on industries that consume high amount of energy.
According to the NEA, it is still to recover around Rs 10 billion in outstanding dues from different industries that had used the facilities. However, industrialists have been opposing the NEA’s move to recover the dues of the facilities that the industries enjoyed during the period when the households were reeling under up to 18 hour load-shedding.
The industrialists being pressurized by the NEA, have blamed that the public enterprise is taking the current step just to let go the defaulting entrepreneurs and the alleged NEA officials without facing any actions.
Shekhar Golchha, senior vice president of the federation, said it is inappropriate to charge the excess tariff from industrialists who did not utilize the facilities of dedicated feeders. “Such move will hard hit the manufacturing business through raising exorbitantly the production costs,” he said.
Source: My Republica