April 5, 2017 05:00 AM NPT
Kul Man Ghising, the managing director of Nepal Electricity Authority, speaks at a press conference in Kathmandu on Tuesday.
NEA head says utility will log profits from next fiscal year
KATHMANDU, April 4: Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) has said that its import bill will not increase much in the current fiscal year, despite 13 percent rise in electricity imports from India compared to Fiscal Year 2015/16.
The power utility had imported electricity worth Rs 13.97 billion from India in the last fiscal year. The import bill is projected to be at around Rs 14.17 billion, or only Rs 200 million higher, in the current fiscal year.
Speaking at a press conference in Kathmandu on Tuesday, Kul Man Ghising, the managing director of NEA, said though electricity import has increased by 13 percent, cheaper electricity purchased via Khimti-Dhalkebar Transmission Line and efficient management of available energy helped the power utility to tame import bill.
NEA imported electricity worth around Rs billion till February-end. With water discharge in major rivers improving in recent weeks, NEA's domestic generation is likely to improve which will enable it to reduce electricity imports.
According to NEA officials, power generation has increased by around 10 to 15 percent in recent weeks.
Ghising projected electricity import will increase to 1,971 GWh in the fiscal year - a rise of 13 percent compare to import figures of the last fiscal year. In the last fiscal year, NEA has imported 1,730 GWh of energy from India. The share of imported electricity in total available energy, however, has declined to 33 percent from 44 percent of the last fiscal year thanks to increased domestic generation.
The NEA chief has received accolades from all quarters for bringing down power cuts from up to 12 hours a day in the past years to negligible this year. He has managed to end load-shedding in Kathmandu as well as some other major cities. The country's economy is expected to expand by about 6 percent, partly due to availability of electricity.
Power import bill had increased by 39 percent in the last fiscal year compared to 2014/15.
Ghising also shrugged off claims that he managed to reduce load-shedding significantly by increasing electricity imports. "We have mostly used imported electricity to manage the peak hour demand," he said, adding that NEA has used power plants across the country to the optimum to reduce power cuts.
He also claimed that efficient management and steps taken to control system loss as well as strengthening of transmission system have helped to bring down power cuts.
New power plants having combined capacity of 105 MW started generation in the current fiscal year. Similarly, another 45 MW is being added to the grid by the end of this fiscal year.
NEA is also seeing a significant growth in revenue in the current fiscal year. Its revenue is projected to increase by 37 percent to Rs 44 billion compared to Rs 22 billion of the last fiscal year.
Despite significant rise in revenue, Ghising said NEA will still have a negative balance sheet as the power utility has to pay interest on loans provided by the government.
NEA's total loan stands at Rs 114 billion. It had logged accumulated loss of Rs 38 billion in the last fiscal year. Its annual loss that year was at around Rs 11.57 billion.
Meanwhile, Ghising has claimed that NEA will start posting profit from the next fiscal year.