Despite increase import of electricity from India every year and , the scheduled load shedding hours have not gone down, especially in the dry season, according to a Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) report.
In the previous fiscal year 2013-14, the authority increased power imports from India by 35.7 per cent compared to a fiscal year ago to reduce load-shedding hours especially in the dry season, the annual report of the authority revealed.
“The country imported 1,072.23 GWh of energy in the last fiscal year, whereas it purchased 1,258.94 GWh from domestic private power producers,” it said, adding that some 46 per cent of total power is imported, whereas 54 per cent is supplied by the Independent Power Producers (IPPs). “The state-owned power utility paid more than half of its total income to Rs 16.38 billion to India and IPPs. Its revenue from electricity sales grew by just 8.9 per cent to Rs 27.62 million in the last fiscal year 2013-14, which has forced the authority to increase in power tariff by some five to seven per cent, or it will face financial problem.
The authority attributed the rise in power purchase costs to higher power imports from India, increment in the number of IPPs in its system, provision for annual hikes in the power rates and depreciation of the Nepali currency vis-à-vis US dollar that.
However, the peak hour power demand in the last fiscal year stood at 1,201 MW, and the Integrated Nepal Power System supplied some 791 MW – 436.4 MW from the authority’s hydropower projects, 22 MW by the authority’s thermal plant, 216.4 MW from independent power producers and 116.2 MW was imported from India – making power shortage of 410 MW.
“Of the total energy volume, some 3,559.28 GWh or 76.8 per cent, was domestic generation and some 1,072.23 GWh or 23.2 per cent was imported from India,” it added.
Continuous rise in power purchase has not only put the authority in pressure for more Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with power producers but also to buy more energy from India.
The report also revealed that the authority had signed a total of PPA with 148 projects that would generate some 2,000 MW. “Likewise, it had added some 23,558 kW of power – produced by six projects of the IPPs – in the national grid in the last fiscal year,” the annual report stated.
Including the PPAs with Lower Chaku Khola, Ankhu Khola 1, Bhairav Kunda, Radhi Khola, Mailung Khola and Chhote Khola projects in the last fiscal year, the total number of IPP-owned projects in operation reached 39. “These 39 power pjojects have a combined installed capacity of 255.65 MW.”