KATHMANDU, Dec 30: Despite Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal’s assurance to the industrialists that they do not have to pay the dues of dedicated feeders and trunk lines if they are not provided with the bill, Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) has disconnected electricity supply to additional 14 manufacturers.
In a meeting with the representatives from the Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FNCCI) and the Confederation of Nepalese Industries (CNI) on Friday, Prime Minister Dahal had said that the industrialists need not to pay the dues prior to 2015.
“For the bills of the successive period that have remained pending, the NEA needs to show evidence for the settlement,” he said.
Prime Minister Dahal even consoled the entrepreneurs to form a high level commission, incorporating the private sector, to resolve the issue. Despite his assurance, the NEA on the same day cut electricity supply lines to over a dozen production plants on the pretext of the pending bills. This action follows the NEA’s decision to disconnect power lines of customers with electricity arrears exceeding Rs 50 million, a move initiated on December 22.
As of now, a total of 23 manufacturers have faced actions of the NEA. The state-owned power utility has listed 61 manufacturers as defaulters. The NEA has been considering recovering the electricity dues for providing its ‘special facility’ in terms of dedicated feeders and trunk lines during the period of load shedding eight years ago. On the other hand, the private sector firms have been criticising the NEA for pressuring them to pay tariffs ‘arbitrarily’.
The private sector has been demanding the NEA present the evidence of their dues based on the electricity consumption using Time of Day (ToD) metering, which the NEA has refused to disclose till date. The NEA on the other hand has been unable to provide the data of the ToD meter readings in support of its claim.
Meanwhile, two public enterprises including Udayapur Cement and Hetauda Cement Industry also failed to clear their dues worth Rs 450.91 million for the dedicated feeders and trunk lines that they used during the given period. Hetauda Cement is left to clear dues of Rs 63 million and Udayapur Cement has not settled Rs 387.86 million.