Scarcity of transformers in NEA

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    KATHMANDU, April 2

    TransformerIt will take another five months for import of new transformers due to procedural reasons even though the stock of transformers with the Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) has exhausted. Import of new transformers will be delayed as the proposals submitted by domestic and foreign companies are being evaluated.

    NEA is procuring 1,040 transformers of varying capacities and it stated that the transformers will be procured in four stages only four months after evaluation is completed. The committee formed under director Surendra Raj Bhandari is evaluating the proposals. NEA has not procured new transformers after the transformer scam. Energy Minister Radha Gyawali stated that new transformers will not arrive before the end of current fiscal year. “NEA is currently facing problems as transformers have not been procured for a long time. They are making do by repairing the older ones,” she added. Eight companies from India, China, Sri Lanka, Nepal and Turkey submitted bid papers one month ago after NEA invited global tender for procurement of transformers. Nepal Ekarat Engineering Company Pvt Ltd, South China Electric Company Limited, Toshiba Transformer Distribution System (India), Sijwan Transformer Company (China), LTL (Sri Lanka), Transformer Industries India, STON (Turkey) and Shirdi Sai Industries (India) are the companies to submit bids.

    NEA officials state that 575 transformers replaced by JK Holdings and 55 of Hubei Sun Light Electric Co Ltd have also been finished due to high demands. NEA is currently making do by repairing older ones when needed. But leakage of electricity is high while using older transformers. Leakage is currently over 25 percent, according to NEA.

    The Commission for Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA) has filed cases at the Special Court against 25 NEA staffers including sitting MD Rameshwore Yadav, former MD, and former general managers (GM) deeming that there were financial irregularities in procurement of transformers. Similarly, Hu Zheng of the supplier of substandard transformers Hubei Sun Light Electric Co Ltd of China and its Nepal representative Zou Yi Tian are also facing case at the Special Court. NEA has already stopped transactions with five companies of China and Thailand that were supplying substandard transformers. CIAA has concluded that the majority of over 6,000 transformers procured from 2006 to 2012 were substandard and there were massive financial irregularities in their procurement.

    NEA had initiated investigations forming a committee under the then board member Mukesh Kumar Kafle following doubts about the quality of transformers procured after problems like catching fire, explosion, higher leakage and other complex problems were found in the transformers. The committee had found that the majority of transformers procured from China and Thailand were substandard. The committee had advised the NEA management to only install the procured transformers after testing all of them. But NEA ignored those recommendations and continued installing them without testing.

    NEA had then formed a sub-committee on quality of transformers under another board member Dr Krishna Prasad Dulal after recurrence of the problems in the procured transformers. The sub-committee also filed its report stating that all the transformers procured from abroad were substandard and leakages were up to three times more than the standard rate. The report states that NEA had procured over 6,500 transformers of varying capacities from these five companies since 2006.

    Source : Baburam Khadka / Karobar Daily