PAC seeks clarification from energy minister, energy secy

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    KATHMANDU, June 15 :

    MoEnThe Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of legislature-parliament has asked Minister for Energy Radha Gyawali and Energy Secretary Rajendra Kishore Kshatri to submit clarification, within three days, on why energy was purchased in US dollars from different hydropower projects.

    The committee has also asked the duo to attend the PAC meeting on Sunday. It has also summoned Arjun Karki, managing director of Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA), to attend the meeting on Sunday and produce contract documents signed with those projects. 

    Officials of the energy ministry had told the committee members that exchange rate was signed in US dollar to retain the development in Nepal considering acute energy shortage.

    Bikash Lamsal, member of PAC, said officials of the energy minister failed to give satisfactory answers on why such decisions were made. “Instead of giving us the reasons, they only cited some laws and policies,” he added.

    PAC has also asked the energy ministry to furnish details of projects that are about to sign PPA with NEA.

    PAC started discussion on the issue after the developer of Upper Trishuli I Hydropower Project proposed to NEA to sign PPA in US dollar. Many other projects, which are trying to bring foreign investment, also want PPA in US dollar.

    NEA has signed PPA on US dollar with six projects including Khimti Hydropower Project and Bhotekoshi Hydropower Project. 

    Speaking at the meeting, Parliamentarian Mohan Bahadur Basnet said PPA signed with developers of Khimti and Bhotekoshi should be reviewed.

    NEA uses around 40 percent of its total revenue to purchase energy generated by these to projects, which generate only around 96 percent, due to depreciation of rupee against US dollar.

    The erstwhile also decided to make partial payment of energy purchased from Lower Solu and Kabeli A in US dollar. The arrangement, however, is valid until the payback period of the projects.

    Meanwhile, PAC members have suggested to the government to develop projects smaller than 100 MW by mobilizing internal resources. It also asked the government to devise clear policy to bring foreign investment in hydropower sector. The members also said the government should give satisfactory reasons if it has to sign PPA in US dollar.

    Source : Republica

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    PPA in dollars against national interest

    Kathmandu, June 15: Members of Parliament have said that the power purchase agreement or PPA in dollars was against the interest of the nation.

    Speaking at the meeting today of the Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee, majority of the MPs said the PPA in dollars signed for the 36 MW Bhotekoshi and 60 MW Khimti hydropower projects was against national interest.

    The two projects account for two-third of the more than one billion rupee loss incurred by Nepal Electricity Authority annually, they said while calling for a review of those agreements.Likewise, they also demanded cancellation of a similar PPA reached recently for the 82 MW lower Solu.

    Expressing such opinion were MPs among others Mohan Basnet, Ramhari Khatiwada, Balkrishna Khand, Prem Bahadur Singh, Dor Prasad Upadhyaya, Dipak Khadka, Bhanu Bhakta Dhakal, Mamata Giri, Badshah Kurmi, Dipak Bohara, Haribol Gajurel. They also called for an explanation with full details of the PPAs from the office-bearers concerned.

    In response to their demand, seniormost member of the Committee, who chaired the meeting today, Krishna Kumar Rai noted that the Energy Ministry, the Energy Secretary and the NEA Executive Director would be summoned to the Committee’s next meeting to be held within three days.

    Matters relating to the mass recruitment of staff under the Ministry of Health and Population and the virement or budget transfer by the Finance Minister were also discussed during the meeting.

    Source : RSS