Nepal’s energy exports come to a halt as winter peaks

Published On: December 20, 2022 08:30 AM NPT By: Republica  | @RepublicaNepal

KATHMANDU, Dec 20: Nepal’s electricity export to India has come to a halt for this year after the water level receded in rivers as the winter season has peaked.

Suresh Bahadur Bhattarai, spokesperson for the Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA), said the production has dropped due to the dry season, while the authority has started importing energy from India. Currently, the country’s demand for electricity stands at Rs 1,512 MW. The demand has surged due to a drop in temperature.

The NEA earned revenue of Rs 11 billion by exporting electricity in the past six months. The authority had started selling surplus electricity during the monsoon through competitive bidding in the day-ahead market of the Indian Energy Exchange Limited (IEX) from June 2. The energy export lasted till mid-December.

Initially, the NEA exported 39 MW of electricity, which later on increased to 419 MW. On an average, the authority sold electricity at the rate of Rs 8.25 per unit.

Meanwhile, the NEA has started importing 3,000 MWh of electricity on a daily basis. According to Bhattarai, the import is made mainly between 3 am to 11 am daily when Upper Tamakoshi and Kaligandaki ‘A’ hydropower projects stop their production.

The NEA has been supplying 7,874 MWh of electricity from its own hydropower plants while its subsidiaries produce 4,443 MWh. Similarly, the private sector’s power projects produce 12,740 MWh.   

In the first three months of the current fiscal year, the NEA earned profits of Rs 8.50 billion. The export earnings held major shares in the NEA’s financial gains.    

According to the NEA, the demand for energy by the industrial sector has dropped by a notable amount due to the problems that the manufacturing firms have been facing at present. Surging inflation along with an exorbitant interest rate being charged by the banks  at present have forced the manufacturing firms to run in their under capacity. 

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