The light comes!

Published On: November 12, 2016 12:45 AM NPT By: Republica  | @RepublicaNepal

Power cut in Kathmandu
One of the most pressing problems the residents of Kathmandu Valley have been facing for decades has been power shortage. With the onset of winter the load shedding hours would increase, putting the businesses, educational institutions and individual households in deep trouble. While the public expressed their anger with the political leadership for their inability to take any step to lift the valley out of darkness, the politicians out of the government used it as a tool to prove the incompetence of the government.  Many prime ministers and leaders promised to end power cut-off in Kathmandu. They would even claim that load-shedding would become a history during their tenure. But that never happened. So people had stopped taking politicians seriously. For the past few days, however, Kathmanduites have experienced a respite from hours of power cut which had become a part of their regular life for nearly a decade. It is indeed a pleasant surprise for many in the city. Thanks to Nepal Electricity Authority.

 In the past years, NEA enforced power cut schedule for up to 18 hours a day, mainly during the winter. The situation of acute power shortage usually worsened mainly for few months after January, when most of the power projects that are developed on run-of-river model generate only half their installed capacity as the water level on those rivers recedes drastically during the winter. We will have to wait and see if NEA can manage uninterrupted power supply in the city during the harsh winter. A new plan introduced by Kulman Ghising, new executive director of NEA, has shown, in the last couple of weeks, that we have reasons to be optimistic about his commitment to lessen the power cut hours. Most notably, the city did not face power cut during Tihar. And NEA has managed to distribute power without interruption even this week when all offices and industries came into full operation. Janardan Sharma, Minister for Energy, and NEA chief Ghising have announced to reduce power cuts significantly in the days and months ahead.

Ghising has said that the NEA is concentrating its efforts to streamline supply management in the city. In Nepal, electricity use is concentrated mainly during evening hours. According to  Ghising, NEA plans to encourage some industries to run factories during the day when the demand for power is minimal. This is the right approach. Without first ensuring proper management of the available resources, it is almost impossible to distribute public utilities effectively. People had long doubts about the management within the NEA. But given the technical nature of the matter, people outside the Authority are not in a position to diagnose the problem. The present officials’ performance has indicated that the public suspicion about collusion between NEA officials and supplier of generators isn’t baseless. Recent protests against Ghising further prove the point. It is too early to celebrate NEA’s management miracle. However, we urge the government and the concerned parties to fully support the present leadership at NEA to work so that we, the people, can enjoy regular power supply at home and at work.   

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