Nepalis have been enjoying uninterrupted power supply for a while now (minus the occasionally cuts here and there) and it’s taking some getting used to, especially since we had been accustomed to planning our lives around the load shedding schedule. But are we aware of how we can further aid the smooth supply? Isha Upadhyay talked to some valley denizens to know what they are doing and what they think can and should be done in order to help the national grid supply electricity efficiently.
I’m very happy that electricity is available around the clock, even though we hardly use the national grid for our household needs. Apart from the water motor, A/C and the washing machine, everything is connected to solar power. We have a five-panel solar which we set up during the peak load shedding days, and it powers the microwave, rice cooker, all the aquariums in the house as well as the iron. I make it a point to not use any of the appliances that use the national grid during peak hours. We haven’t used the A/C all winter, preferring to use the gas heater and hot water bags, and I hope that this, in its own little way, is helping the government supply electricity round the clock. I’ve seen malls and trade centers all decked up in string lights and lit up for no particular reason. I wonder if the owners of such buildings realize how foolish and selfish they appear. I believe all of us have to do our bit in conserving electricity and maybe we should start by putting an end to this silly practice.
Although it feels great that electricity is available at all times during the day, there is always a nagging voice at the back of my head that tells me this won’t last. I think this has stemmed from over a decade of load shedding and the constant ‘update your load shedding app’ reminders in the recent days. So now I try my best to use as little electricity as I can, especially during the peak hours to play my part in trying to conserve electricity. The little we save now may go a long way in helping us remain free of load shedding in the long run. I think it is time to replace the tube light from every household, institutions and offices and replace them with LED lights if that hasn’t been already done. These LED lights are oftentimes even brighter than tube lights and are much more cost effective. I urge people to think about all the households that can’t afford solar panels and inverters and even it is for their sake, use only as much as you need and be conscious about switching electronic appliances off after using them.
For us homemakers, things haven’t really changed. Since the peak hour in the morning is 6 to 9 am, I don’t get to use rice cooker, the food processor or the microwave. I know I can, however I feel like if I must refrain from doing so. Maybe there are other people, in other kitchens, who do the same and lighten the load. At least that’s what I tell myself and keep at it. The fridge is the only heavy appliance we have plugged in during the peak hour. We have two batteries left from back in the days; one was solar charged while the other was charged by electricity. I have detached the one that charges through electricity since we don’t really need it anymore. I wash clothes and iron them during the day and I grind whatever masala I will need during the day as well. Now with LPG available easily, people need to pack up their induction cookers and bring it out only during emergencies. All of us need to do what we can to make sure we never have to suffer from load shedding ever again.
Being free of load shedding makes me feel like we have stepped into a new era of development. We can finally use all the appliances whenever we want and don’t have to make plans that revolve around the load shedding schedule. We only had a small inverter that supported a few LED lights around the house so we now get to use the internet whenever we want to which makes it easier for me and my wife to communicate with our daughters who live abroad. With the time differences as well as the load shedding, talking to them would otherwise take lots of planning. If people don’t use appliances like microwave oven, iron and water pump during peak hours, things would be easier for everybody in the long run. People who aren’t home all day can do their bit by making sure all their gadgets have been switched off. You don’t need to leave your TV or router plugged in when you will be out all day. I think it’s little things like these that make a huge difference.
Dipta Dhungana PoudyalIt feels great that we don’t have to wait around to use the electrical appliances and that they have finally become more than just showpieces. The kids finally get to study in peace without having to wait around for the electricity to surf the internet. The biggest thing, however, is that we don’t have to sit in the dark anymore. Our city has become so congested that there are houses that don’t get enough natural light. Even in my own house if we don’t have electricity on in the staircases, it will be pitch dark no matter what time of the day. We have put low-watt LED lights in every alternate staircase in order to save electricity. Electricity being available around the clock will also become economically feasible for us since we don’t have to worry about installing solar panels and maintaining the batteries. We will also be saving a lot of fuel when there is no need to use petroleum products to power generators. The fund and the time that this saves us can go into something else to improve our quality of life.
We have been getting an overwhelming response for ending the load shedding and trying to give electricity all day long. We are still facing a few issues that make it a slightly bumpy ride. I request all the consumers to not use high voltage appliances during peak hours, which are 6-9 am in the morning and 5-8 pm in the evening. Appliances like iron, A/C, water pump and heaters are few of home gadgets that take a lot of electricity, and these are things you can do at other times during the day as well. I also urge people to come out and speak up if they see any instances of people stealing electricity from the main line. This is usually seen in the Tarai region but we have caught a few people in Kathmandu doing this too. This creates a leak and makes it hard for us to track and supply electricity easily. If you aren’t satisfied with something someone is doing in regard to using electricity, speak up and you will be heard.