KATHMANDU, Jan 9: Consumers have started facing recurring problem of power-trips at a time the government itself has been pushing the people to increase the use of electricity for daily household needs. This has left many consumers opting to buy electrical appliances for household use highly disappointed.
The Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA), however, has attributed the sudden power cuts to overload in the system caused by increased use of electric heaters and air-conditioners among other appliances due to the plummeting temperatures.
According to the NEA, the demand for electricity has risen sharply over the past few weeks especially in the Kathmandu Valley and adjoining areas due to an increasing use of electrical appliances like air-conditioners and electric heaters. “Mainly in the past two weeks, the heating load has gone up,” said NEA Spokesperson Prabal Adhikari.
The government has been talking time and again to facilitate people to purchase electrical appliances like induction cookers targeting to reduce the surging import of petroleum products to minimize the widening trade deficit.
The increasing fluctuations in power supply, however, has ignited a nightmare of the nearly-forgotten load-shedding among the people, while also bringing disruptions to business activities.
The NEA, on the other hand, said the current problem is not caused by a mismatch between the demand and supply of energy, but due to a problem in the distribution system. “With the increased load, the problem has been observed in a number of transmission lines, sub-stations and feeders,” said Adhikari.
According to him, the national demand for electricity now stands at 1,330 MW in which around 100 MW additional load has been created in the past two weeks. Of the total demand, the Kathmandu Valley accounts for 450 MW -- around one-third of the national consumption. Nepal is importing a peak hour electricity of 500 MW from India.
Adhikari said the NEA has started upgrading the distribution system in a number of locations citing the recurring power-trips. “When maintenance and upgrading work are underway, the authority is compelled to cut power supply. This has also aggravated the problem of tripping,” he further said.
The authority has also attributed the road expansion projects at a number of locations and ongoing site clearance for second phase expansion of Ring Road along the Kalanki-Chabahil stretch for the recurring power outages.
In a bid to resolve the problem, the state-owned power utility has recently upgraded the transmission system in Bhaktapur with additional transformer capacity of 22.5 mVA. The authority has also reinforced the system in Syuchatar sub-station with added capacity of 30 mVA, according to Adhikari.
However, the NEA’s efforts have hardly helped to address the problem of frequent power cuts that ordinary people in Kathmandu are experiencing these days. Last year too, the consumers had faced similar problems caused by power trips, which the NEA blamed on the obsolete transmission lines.
Adhikari said over the past few months, NEA has upgraded the transmission lines in the Valley to 132 kV from 66 kV, with additional feeder capacity of 11 kV. “This has helped in reducing the problem of tripping to some extent,” he added.