The cost of relying on diesel

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    KATHMANDU, Feb 8 : Every day when the light goes out, Bhim Raule, who has been working as a diesel generator operator at Civil Mall in Kathmandu for the last two years, scurries down to the basement.

    The moment Raule ignites a 630-KVA diesel generator, the electricity flows throughout the mall, enabling everyone to use whatever electronic equipments they need. “I do it as soon as the power goes out,” says Raule. “People in the mall hardly notice when the light goes and comes.”

    diesal import

    As the generator burns diesel for hours–sometimes continuously for half a day–hundreds of people shop, eat, play and watch movies in the mall, most of them oblivious to the cost of fossil fuel used for generating electricity.

    “We burn about 1,000 liters of diesel in just two days,” says Raule. “And this is just for supplying electricity to the mall, not for running movie theaters.”
    Inside the basement are two more generators that are smaller than the one Raule is responsible to handle. These two generator sets, one 160 KVA and another 100 KVA, are alternatively used to run the multiplex on the top floor of the mall.

    In the first few minutes, diesel generators emit plumes of smoke, visibly black and thick. Gradually, plumes of smoke begin to thin out, however, even the thinned out smoke emitted by diesel generators is hazardous to the environment and human health, say experts.

    Nevertheless, as Nepal reels under heavy power outages–normally up to 12 hours a day in winter–people are increasingly relying on diesel generators despite high cost and environment and health hazard involved.

    Apart from hundreds of thousands of vehicles, diesel is widely used to generate electricity at countless factories, hotels, restaurants, multiplexes, malls, banks, communication providers, apartments and educational institutions.

    Height of stupidity

    In the fiscal year 2007-2008, the Nepal Oil Corporation (NOC) imported more than 300,000 kiloliters of high speed diesel (HSD), which is used to run high-speed engines like motors and generators.

    Since then, the annual import of HSD has been steadily increasing. By 2012-13, the size of import doubled compared to in 2007-2008. And given the trend of the last five years and the current state of power generation in Nepal, the import of diesel is unlikely to decline in the foreseeable future.
    So, what led to the sharp rise in the annual import of HSD in the year 2007-2008? The answer is crystal clear: load-shedding.

    As the Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) failed to meet the increasing demand of electricity, it started supplying power only for certain hours, forcing people to rely on diesel. As load-shedding hours increased, reliance on diesel also spiked. Today, unavailability of diesel would spell doom for all the factories, malls, hotels and even hospitals.
    “We always store thousands of liters of diesel,” says Raule. “If we run out of diesel, the business of the mall would be badly affected.”

    As the generator burns diesel for hours–sometimes continuously for half a day–hundreds of people shop, eat, play and watch movies in the mall, most of them oblivious to the cost of fossil fuel used for generating electricity.

    “We burn about 1,000 liters of diesel in just two days,” says Raule. “And this is just for supplying electricity to the mall, not for running movie theaters.”
    Inside the basement are two more generators that are smaller than the one Raule is responsible to handle. These two generator sets, one 160 KVA and another 100 KVA, are alternatively used to run the multiplex on the top floor of the mall.

    In the first few minutes, diesel generators emit plumes of smoke, visibly black and thick. Gradually, plumes of smoke begin to thin out, however, even the thinned out smoke emitted by diesel generators is hazardous to the environment and human health, say experts.

    Nevertheless, as Nepal reels under heavy power outages–normally up to 12 hours a day in winter–people are increasingly relying on diesel generators despite high cost and environment and health hazard involved.

    Apart from hundreds of thousands of vehicles, diesel is widely used to generate electricity at countless factories, hotels, restaurants, multiplexes, malls, banks, communication providers, apartments and educational institutions.

    Height of stupidity

    In the fiscal year 2007-2008, the Nepal Oil Corporation (NOC) imported more than 300,000 kiloliters of high speed diesel (HSD), which is used to run high-speed engines like motors and generators.

    Since then, the annual import of HSD has been steadily increasing. By 2012-13, the size of import doubled compared to in 2007-2008. And given the trend of the last five years and the current state of power generation in Nepal, the import of diesel is unlikely to decline in the foreseeable future.
    So, what led to the sharp rise in the annual import of HSD in the year 2007-2008? The answer is crystal clear: load-shedding.

    As the Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) failed to meet the increasing demand of electricity, it started supplying power only for certain hours, forcing people to rely on diesel. As load-shedding hours increased, reliance on diesel also spiked. Today, unavailability of diesel would spell doom for all the factories, malls, hotels and even hospitals.
    “We always store thousands of liters of diesel,” says Raule. “If we run out of diesel, the business of the mall would be badly affected.”

    Source : Republica