KATHMANDU, Aug 15: About 86.44 percent of the households across the country now have access to the electricity transmitted through the national grid, according to Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA).
The government has been electrifying the places where national grid-distributed electricity has not reached through solar and micro hydroelectricity under the Alternative Energy Promotion Centre (AEPC). According to the Ministry of Energy, Water Resources and Irrigation, more than 90 percent of the country’s population now has access to electricity.
“Only 62.16 percent of households were electrified in the fiscal year 2015/16 but within the last four years the number increased by 23.28 percent and reached 86.44 percent,” said Kulman Ghising, managing director at NEA. “We are moving forward with the aim to expand the reach of electricity to each household in the country within the next two and a half years. Necessary budget has already been allocated for this.”
The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) is providing concessional loans to expand the reach of electricity through the national grid in Karnali and Sudurpaschim provinces.
The government has set a target of providing electricity service to each and every household of the country by 2022 and increase the per capita electricity consumption to 700 units within four years. Currently, the per capita electricity consumption stands at 260 units.
The data compiled by NEA shows that most households in Province 2 have access to electricity transmitted through the national transmission system, while Karnali Province has the least access to electricity. Some 99.5 percent of the total households in Province 2 have access to electricity, whereas only 34.74 percent households have been electrified in Karnali Province.
Some 30.57 percent of Karnali Province has been electrified through the national transmission system and 4.17 percent through the off-grid system. Of the ten districts of Karnali Province, the national grid has not reached Humla, Jumla, Dolpa, Kalikot and Mugu districts yet. The authority has been supplying electricity to these districts through micro hydropower plants. Ghising said that the electrification in Karnali Province is challenging due to its difficult geographical condition.
Bagmati Province has witnessed the second highest level of electrification with 94.44 percent electrification. Districts like Kathmandu, Bhaktapur and Nuwakot have been fully electrified. Sindhuli district has the lowest electrification rate with the coverage of barely 69.51 percent so far.
Similarly, Gandaki Province has 92.79 percent electrification, with districts like Syangja and Prabat fully electrified and Lamjung, Tanahun, Kaski, Myagdi and Baglung electrified by more than 90 percent. Province 5 has 91 percent electrification. Of the 12 districts in Province 5, Nawalparasi, Kapilvastu and Bardiya have been electrified by more than 99 percent. Gulmi, Arghakhanchi and Rupandehi have more than 95 percent electrification and Rukum East has the lowest electrification of 11.25 percent.
Province 1 has 82.43 percent electrification. Of the 14 districts in Province 1, the highest electrification is 97 percent in Dhankuta and the lowest is 13.55 percent in Solukhumbu. More than 90 percent electrification has been accomplished in Jhapa, Morang and Sunsari districts.
In Sudur Paschim Province, 64.69 percent electrification has been accomplished so far. While Kanchanpur has the highest electrification rate at 92.79 percent, Bajhang has the lowest rate at 10.21 percent in the Province.
According to Ghising, the electricity consumer base of NEA in the last fiscal year had reached 4.2 million, which is 42 percent more as compared to the data maintained four years ago. The number now has reached 4.8 million in total including those from community and Butwal Power Company.
The government is planning to use micro-hydro, solar and wind energy with battery storage systems in places where the national grid's reach is not possible. Ghising said the government is making all possible efforts to achieve its goal of making electricity accessible to every Nepali people and to provide adequate, regular, reliable and quality electricity service to the consumers.