Refutes corruption allegation
KATHMANDU, May 10: Kulman Ghising, the managing director of Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA), on Tuesday said that the power utility was buying energy-efficient LED bulbs from India to enhance its demand-side management.
The NEA chief, who has earned admiration from all quarters for cutting power cuts since last year, argued that the 20 million LED that NEA is buying will be instrumental for addressing the projected gap between demand and supply for the next dry season that starts from November.
The demand is projected to increase by 200 MW in the coming dry season.
“We want to distribute 20 million LED lamps to our consumers for saving 200 MW of electricity. It is also a part of market intervention by providing LED bulbs at cheaper price,” Ghising told a press meet on Tuesday.
NEA organized the press meet to refute corruption allegation in the LED lamps procurement deal.
Once the LED lamps are distributed to all consumers, it will lower electricity import cost worth Rs 5 billion annually, according to NEA.
The cabinet meeting held on Thursday has allowed NEA to purchase LED lamps from Energy Efficiency Services Limited (EESL), and Indian government undertaking, at Rs 104 (IRs 65) per unit.
EESL has agreed to supply the lamps at the Hetauda-based warehouse of the NEA.
Consumers will get the 9 watt LED lamps of Philips and Osram brands at Rs 140 per unit. The price is inclusive of 20 percent customs tax and 13 percent Value Added Tax. NEA plans to distribute the bulbs to consumers from its services centers and revenue collection counters.
These lamps come with three-year replacement warranty. The LED lamps that NEA is buying has power factor of 0.9 -- a high energy-efficient standard. The life of the lamps is 50,000 hours. Market price of LED lamps is range of Rs 330 to Rs 360. But these lamps have not received quality certification. NEA has targeted to distribute led bulbs to 3.5 million consumers.
Ghising clarified that their motive is to save energy by providing energy-efficient lamps to consumers at cheaper rates. “We could have remained idle with power cuts of 16 hours. But we chose to end load-shedding and have become successful to some extent,” he said, adding: “Corruption allegations have saddened us.”
“I cannot think of taking a bribe on lamps that we are going to distribute to consumers,” an emotional Ghising told the press meet.
Ghising hinted that some traders selling LED lamps might have become unhappy with the NEA's decision to distribute lamps at a cheaper rate and leveled unfounded allegations against him.
“EESL purchased such lamps at different rates -- starting from IRs 38 to as high as IRs 300 -- depending on the warranty replacement through open bidding. It has agreed to provide lamps to Nepal at consumer prices in India, considering the chance of cross-border smuggling due to price difference,” Ghising said.
The minutes signed by the Joint Steering Committee led by energy secretaries of Nepal and India held in Kathmandu on February 13 and 14 states that Nepal will purchase bulbs from EESL.
Ghising also claimed that they have followed the process prescribed in the procurements laws.
“Such an agreement was necessary to ensure quality of bulbs,” he maintained.
The NEA chief also appealed to suppliers of LED lamps to distribute bulbs of similar quality to consumers at Rs 150 per unit. He also promised logistic support to such suppliers at NEA's service centers and revenue collection counters.