KATHMANDU, June 30: A tussle between Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) and local level units regarding use of land and payment for street lights has left electricity dues worth six billion in quandary.
The NEA has been saying that the local level units have to pay for the bill as they have used the street light. However, the local units say that the authority has placed electricity poles and wires haphazardly on the footpath, so it should be accountable to pay.
The tussle which is going on for long has been affecting the public who walks on the street.
The authority claims that although local units use street lights across the country, they have not been paying for it.
If they have to, the local units should be paying Rs 4.89 billion plus fines for use of street lights.
According to the Distribution and Costumer Services Directorate of NEA, the local units who have not paid the dues yet will now be charged Rs 6.74 billion including 25 percent fine.
Though the federal government had decided that payment till mid-April 2017 will be released by the Ministry of Finance, as the local units have not given approval for it in principal, the problem of has arisen, said a high-level official at NEA.
Deputy Executive Director of NEA Har Raj Neupane said that Kathmandu Metropolitan Office has the highest outstanding dues against street lights. "The local units throughout the country have been reluctant to pay the bills," he said.
Spokesperson of the Kathmandu Metropolitan Office, Ishwar Man Dangol said that until the authority paid for placing poles and wire on the land of the Metropolitan Office, they will not pay for the street lights.
"The authority has not paid for the electricity poles and wires placed in the metropolitan land, that too, in a dangerous way. We will pay only after the NEA makes payment for the use of our land," he added. "The action should be taken from both sides."
"The electricity authority should not just sell electricity but also provide lights on the streets," Dongol added.
Kathmandu Metropolitan Office has to pay Rs 6.13 billion in outstanding bills, the highest among the local units, against the street lights.
According to the authority, electricity service is yet to reach to some local units.