NEA close to selecting firm for laying cables

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    Jan 19, 2018-The Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) is getting ready to appoint a contractor to install underground power cables in the northern and central parts of Kathmandu served by its Maharajgunj and Ratna Park distribution centres.

    The state-owned power utility has finished evaluating the technical proposals submitted by the bidders. It will now examine their financial proposals before selecting the lowest bidder to award the contract.

    The Asian Development Bank (ADB), the Manila-based multilateral lender who will be financing the project, has approved the evaluation of the technical proposals done by the NEA.

    “We will open the financial proposals within a few days and award the contract to the bidder quoting the lowest amount,” said Manoj Silwal, chief of the Project Management Directorate at the NEA. He refused to reveal the names of the companies that had passed the technical evaluation.

    In the first phase, the NEA will replace overhead electric cables with underground cables along major thoroughfares of the city like Ratna Park, Maitighar, Thamel, Thapathali, Maharajgunj and Chabahil, among others.

    The NEA has decided to lay underground power cables and remove overhead lines in a bid to improve the distribution system. The scheme is a component of the $180-million Power Transmission and Distribution Efficiency Enhancement Project (PTDEEP) funded by the Nepal government and the ADB.

    The project seeks to meet the growing energy demand in the Valley and increase the capacity and reliability of the distribution network by automating the network, laying underground cables, using insulated cables for overhead lines and installing smart meters. Out of the total cost of $180 million, the ADB will provide $150 million in soft loans and the Nepal government will contribute the rest.

    The NEA will use a horizontal erection gridding system to lay underground cables as this will cause less damage to the roads. This system allows power lines to be laid over a distance of 100 metres by drilling a pit at one place. The power utility has clearly said that vehicular traffic will not be disturbed by its work as it will immediately blacktop the road after the cables are laid.

    The major reason behind the plan to remove overhead lines and install underground cables is to increase the reliability of the distribution system, according to the NEA. The power utility’s existing distribution system is very fragile, resulting in abrupt power cuts despite adequate supply.

    The Valley’s existing distribution network can’t support a load of more than 400 MW. The NEA is planning to upgrade the system to support a power load of up to 2,000 MW.

    Apart from laying underground power cables, the NEA is also planning to build six substations at Barhabise, Lapsiphedi, Chapagaun, Phutung, Mulpani and Changu Narayan to enhance the load-bearing capacity of the electricity distribution system in the Valley. Contracts for the construction of these substations have already been awarded.

    Source : The Kathmandu Post