Kathmandu, Republica, Rudra Pangeni, February 27: Import bill grows by 12 percent only: Electricity imports increased by 23 percent to 785 million units over the first half of the current fiscal year compared to the corresponding period of the last fiscal year.
Import bill, however, grew by only about 12 percent to Rs 6.05 billion in the review period, according to statistics prepared by the Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA).
Prabal Adhikari, the spokesperson for the NEA, said electricity import is inevitable until domestic generation increases. “But our import bill has grown by slower rate as NEA has prioritized cheaper energy imported via Dhalkebar-Muzaffarpur Transmission Line,” said Adhikari.
The price of energy imported via this line is IRs 3.60 per unit. Nepal has been as high as IRs 6.08 per unit for electricity imported from India.
“We may be able to reverse the trend once supply in wet season improves in the coming years,” added Adhikari.
Energy import from India has enabled the NEA to eliminate power cut. But critics say there is no reason to be happy as electricity import has been rising.
Adhikari suggests one and all to take a practical approach while questioning the rationale of energy imports. “Demand side management was important in efficient management of available electricity,” said Adhikari.
A preliminary report prepared by NEA shows that the utility has manage to slash slashed system loss by 4 percentage point to 22 percent in the first five months of the current fiscal year.
Electricity import had increased by 28 percent to 1,758 GWh in the last fiscal year. It is said to be one of the reasons behind loss of a whopping Rs 11 billion that NEA faced last year.
At present, Nepal can import a maximum of 375 MW. But import has been mostly focused on managing peak hour demand, which is close to 1300 MW, NEA officials say.
NEA's plants have been generating a combined 307 MW at present, while plants of independent producers are generating 150 MW. This means NEA is facing shortfall of 385 MW in its system.
The new management of NEA led by Kulman Ghising has received accolades for eliminating power cut. Generation of 105 MW this year helped the new management to some extent. Similarly, 45 MW generated by NEA's plants are expected to be linked to the national grid by mid-July this year. Another 200 MW is expected to be connected to the grid in the next fiscal year.
Meanwhile, NEA's revenue increased by 32 percent to Rs 18.28 billion in the first half of 2016/17 compared to the corresponding period of last fiscal year.