Power crisis likely to worsen further

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    • Only 5.4 MW added to the national grid in a year • 18-hour daily outage likely during dry season

    During the last fiscal, people got a paltry 578 MW while the peak hour demand stood at 1026 MW. The demand for electricity soars by 100 MW every year, while power generation continues to stagnate. In the fiscal 2011/12, Hewa Khola (4455 KW) and Lower Piluwa of Capacity (990 KW) were the only contributors to the Nepal Electricity Authority’s Integrated Nepal Power System, according to a report that NEA Managing Director Mahendra Lal Shrestha presented at the NEA’s 27th anniversary yesterday. The meagre addition to the national grid has failed to provide some respite to the people suffering from protracted load-shedding hours, leave alone industries that are starving, literally. “The shortfall in demand and supply will last 3-4 years,” reads the report.

    The increment of 100 MW annual demand is likely to increase 2-3 hours in the power outage. Daily outage is expected to reach 16 to 18 hours from the last years 12 hours in the dry season, owing to below-normal rainfall at the only reservoir Kulekhani project. Load-shedding hours can be forecast only after the withdrawal of monsoon in September, according to NEA spokesperson Sher Singh Bhat.

    Even in the most rainfall receiving months of July and August, rainfall in Kulekhani is below, so the reservoir project may not be able to contribute much to lessen outage hours.

    Saraju Kumar Baidya, deputy director general at the Department of Hydrology and Meteorology, fears that the weak rainfall will lead to daily outage of 16-18 hours. Bhat conceded that daily outage is likely to increase two to three hours compared to preceding years’ 12-hour daily outage if the water level in the reservoir remains.

    “Demand and supply management can help decrease the the outage hours,” added Bhat. Besides, some run-of-the river projects with the total capacity of about 38 MW, including Lower Arun (10 MW), Sipring Khola (10), Sieri Khola (4.5 MW) and Biajyapur (4.5 MW), are likely to complete this year. If this happens, the power supply scenario will surely improve. However, during dry season, these projects will not be of much help as power generation will fall below 10 MW.

    Source : The Himalayan Times