NEA facing shortage of transformers, meter boxes

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    KATHMANDU, Feb 4 :

    NEA_BuldingThe Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) has stopped installing new electricity lines to small and medium scale factories for the past couple of months citing shortage of transformers.

    After a long delay, NEA recently initiated procurement of transformers as its officials were hesitant to place fresh orders after the earlier procurement process fell into controversy.
    According to officials, transformer procurement process takes at least five months.

    The process of procuring transformers and other auxiliary equipments including, meter boxes, was disrupted for 18 months due to the controversy. Investigations were launched after the previous supplier delivered substandard transformers. Tenders to procure these transformers were conducted between 2008 and 2011.
    “The shortage of transformers has affected the process to install electricity lines in new industries, especially small and medium scale industries,” Ram Chandra Pandey, chief of Distribution and Consumer Services Department of NEA, conceded.

    NEA provides transformers to industries requiring power up to 50 KVA. Firms that need power higher than 50 KVA have to manage transformers on their own.
    At present, the state-owned power monopoly has only used transformers in stock.
    NEA generates around 38 percent of its total revenue from the industrial sector.

    “We are forced to postpone the process of connecting new lines for industries due to shortage of transformers,” said Pandey. He also said NEA would be able to distribute line for industries only after mid-June when new transformers start to arrive.
    In the fresh procurement plan, NEA has placed order for 1,200 transformers.

    NEA officials say they have been receiving demand for transformers from at least two dozen factories every month.
    “Small and medium scale factories aren´t getting power connections in time,” Bhaskar Raj Rajkarnikar, senior vice-president of Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industries (FNCCI), said.

    The Industrial Policy 2010 envisages supporting industries by providing power in a convenient manner. However, entrepreneurs complain that the government has failed to live up to the commitments made in the policy.

    Pandey also said the shortage of transformers has affected the ongoing community electrification programs launched in different parts of the country. NEA has also been failing to provide electricity for household purpose due to shortage of meter boxes.

    Several distribution offices of NEA in Kathmandu valley and eastern region have already published public notice, requesting consumers to put their applications on hold for the time being.
    NEA initiated the process to procure meter boxes only recently.

    Source : Republica