KATHMANDU, Aug 9: The government has waived the charge for the use of electricity through dedicated feeders and trunk lines of eight and a half months out of the total dues under the heading that the industrialists have been denying to pay for a long time.
A Cabinet meeting on Thursday came up with this decision, validating the recommendations put forth by a task force formed to study the issue that has remained hung in balance since long. With the fresh decision, the industrialists concerned now have to settle the dues of 28 months and 11 days for using the special service provided by Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA). The state-owned utility supplied electricity to around 300 manufacturing companies through dedicated feeders and trunk lines even when the country was reeling under up to 18 hours of load-shedding.
Under the dedicated feeders service, a factory that needs high voltage lines is permitted to receive direct electricity from a nearby substation, while those using trunk lines can receive regular electricity through two substations. In June 2015, a board meeting of the NEA had set the premium charges for factories using electricity through dedicated feeders from August that year.
Citing power outage problems at that time, the NEA had decided to impose additional fees on industries consuming high amounts of energy. Under the scheme, 231 production businesses were provided electricity through dedicated feeders, while another 67 companies received power through trunk lines.
However, the industrialists have been disagreeing with the decision, claiming that it was not appropriate for the NEA to levy additional fees even after the power utility announced the end of load-shedding in 2016. In this regard, the government last January formed a five-member task force led by Secretary of the Ministry of Energy, Water Resource and Irrigation to study the matter.
The panel that was mandated to complete the work within 15 days from the date of its formation, submitted its final report to the government only last week. The Cabinet meeting has directed the energy ministry to implement the recommendations forwarded by the task force.