No reprieve from load-shedding until April

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    There will be no reprieve in load-shedding despite import of additional 80 MW from India until April.

    The Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) had hoped to cut it by up to two hours a day after import of additional 80 MW but it could not be cut with the system still short by almost 800 MW at a time when demand is 1350 MW, according to Chief of the System Operation Department of NEA Bhuwan Kumar Chhetri. “Demand has increased in comparison to the last year. Additional import from India has stopped the rise in load-shedding. Load-shedding would have increased to up to 16 hours a day but for import of additional 80 MW,” he added.

    He stated that demand rises annually by 80-100 MW but supply does not rise in the same proportion creating problems in the distribution system. The NEA is currently importing almost 300 MW from India while generation in Nepal is just around 250 MW including that generated by projects developed by the private sector. The NEA faced problem in managing distribution also as the water level of Kulekhani reservoir was 10 meters lower than that in the last year.

    The problem has worsened, according to him, as the reservoir of the only reservoir-based project in the country was not filled, run-of-the-river projects generate just one-third of installed capacity, and 10 projects were destroyed by the earthquake. The Kulekhani reservoir currently has water up to 1,518 meters. It had the same water level after mid-April.

    The NEA in June had projected that load-shedding will be limited to 14 hours a day this dry season. It says load-shedding can be reduced for a few days by running Kulekhani but the problem can compound once the water level in the reservoir recedes. Consumers currently are dependent on electrical appliances due to scarcity of cooking gas owing to the Indian blockade. The current demand (20.20 million units a day) is higher than the NEA’s projection by one million units as a result.

    The country is now becoming more dependent on India even in energy like in other items. Import from India currently is more than 25 percent of the annual supply by NEA. The NEA is currently importing electricity worth over Rs 16 billion a year from India. The current installed capacity of Nepal is 767 MW excluding thermal plants.

    Additional 16 MW generated this year

    Additional 16.50 MW has been added to the national grid after completion of three projects in the first seven months of the current fiscal year. Api Power Company has completed 8.50 MW Naugad Project, Sanima Mai Hydropower has completed 7 MW Mai Cascade and 1 MW Kusurimukhi Project.

    The NEA had hoped that 15 projects, with combined installed capacity of 120 MW, will be completed in the current year and added to the national grid. But the projects have been delayed due to fuel crisis and lack of supply of construction materials like cement and others due to the Indian blockade. Construction of many projects has not started with fuel supply yet to ease even after lifting of blockade.

    Source : Karobar Daily