KATHMANDU, July 20: Attempts by the Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) to resolve the tariff dispute over the use of dedicated and trunk lines have failed this time as well. Although the NEA has announced an installment plan to pay the arrears to resolve the long-standing tariff dispute between some industrialists and NEA, only two industries have applied for that. The deadline to apply was mid-July.
According to NEA, there is an arrear of more than Rs 10 billion. Although the NEA invited the industrialists to submit applications over the non-payment of arrears, most of them did not apply.
Only Surya Nepal Pvt Ltd and Arihant Polypax have submitted applications to pay the tariff in installments. NEA Spokesperson Madan Timalsina said that only two companies have applied for the scheme to pay that arrears in installments. NEA is preparing to cut the electricity supply of non-paying industries. "Applications from only Arihant and Surya Nepal have been received," said Timalsina. “The electricity supply of those who do not apply and those who do not pay the tariff will be cut.”
The Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FNCCI), Confederation of Nepalese Industries (CNI) and other private sector umbrella organizations have been trying to find a solution to the electricity tariff dispute. CNI President Satish Kumar More said that it would not be fair to send bills to industries that have not applied for electricity and have not signed an agreement. "Industries that have signed an agreement to apply for electricity should pay the tariff," he said. “How can an industry that has not reached an agreement and does not get electricity pay the tariff?”
The industrialists have also urged Finance Minister Janardan Sharma to resolve the dispute over dedicated and trunk line tariff dues. "We have informed the finance minister about this," he said. "He has said that industries that have not consumed electricity and have not entered into an agreement will not have to pay."
The task force formed to study the electricity tariff dispute has recommended collecting the dues of trunk and dedicated lines but the industrialists have been saying that they cannot pay the amount.
The industrialists have been saying that they could not pay the amount even though the NEA had asked them to do so. The industrialists have been arguing that they could not pay the tariff as the tariff was fixed by the then Electricity Tariff Fixation Commission without their approval.
Industrialists claim that the Electricity Regulatory Commission (ERC) has removed the old system of charging extra for controversial trunks and dedicated lines and is not relevant now. They have been saying that they cannot pay the tariff as it was fixed without the permission of the ERC.
Although some industrialists went to court, the court had ordered them to pay the tariff as per the bill sent by NEA. The government had formed a task force after the industrialists met the prime minister and the energy minister and told them that they could not pay the tariff dues.
NEA has been claiming that an additional fee has to be paid by entrepreneurs for receiving electricity through the trunk line for 20 hours even during load-shedding.