KATHMANDU, Dec 30: The import of dry-cell batteries has plummeted since the launch of the 'Ujyalo Nepal Project' of Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) in October 2016.
“There has been a dramatic decline in the sale of such batteries for home-use due to the ending of load shedding in the country, also co-relating to the decline in the import of these batteries,” said Tej Narayan Kharel, president of Federation of Electrical Entrepreneurs of Nepal.
According to a report published by Nepal Rastra Bank, the import of dry-cell batteries from India dipped by 39.4 percent to Rs 2.62 billion in Fiscal Year 2016/17 from Rs 4.33 billion in FY2015/16. While the import from China climbed by a mere 2.5 percent, increasing to Rs 203.1 million in the last fiscal year from Rs 198.1 million of the previous year, the imports of such batteries dropped a whopping 91.6 percent declining to Rs 18 million from the former imports of Rs 214.6 million in FY2015/16.
This trend of decrease in the number of dry-cell batteries entering the country also continues this year according to a report on the imports of such batteries in the first four months of the current Fiscal Year 2017/18.
The dry-cells are used for portable flashlights.
While Rs 1.54 billion worth of batteries were imported in the first four months of the previous fiscal year, this has dropped to Rs 633.8 million this year, dropping by 56.2 percent.
Traders have also experienced the fall in the demand of such batteries.
Meanwhile, with the ending of load-shedding in the country, officials say that the sale of large inverter and UPS batteries has also steeply declined.
“The sale of inverter and UPS batteries is just five percent of what it was a few years back, we previously used to sell 150,000 units of inverter and UPS batteries. However, this has been limited to just between 10,000 and 15,000 units a year nowadays,” said Bhagwat Prasad Shrestha, senior sales manager of Sipradi Energy Pvt Ltd.
Kharel believes the sales and import of batteries for inverters and UPS will also fall further. “People who opt for having a back-up power supply now prefer solar panels over inverters. So I believe there will be further decline in the demand of such batteries,” he said.