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NEPAL INCREASES DAILY POWER CUTS


As demand for electricity tightened during this winter, Nepal’s state-run power monopoly increased daily power cuts from 12 hours to 16. The Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) had previously imposed a 12-hour daily power cut in December, but increased its blackout hours due to the inability to meet rising demand.


 

As demand for electricity tightened during this winter, Nepal’s state-run power monopoly increased daily power cuts from 12 hours to 16. The Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) had previously imposed a 12-hour daily power cut in December, but increased its blackout hours due to the inability to meet rising demand.

Currently, the NEA generates 300 megawatts of electricity against demand of 800 megawatts, which is rising by 10 percent annually.

Due to a decade-long Maoist insurgency, no major hydroelectric plants have been built in the past decade. While the NEA generates nearly half of Nepal’s electricity needs, the amount of power it imports from India is not enough to make up the shortfall.

Senior NEA official, Sher Singh Bhat has explained the cause for further power cuts stating, “Generation of hydro-electric power had fallen because of the slow melting of mountain snows”.

Nepal is suffering from unusually low water levels this year in reservoirs that feed the country’s lone hydroelectric plants. As river levels fell and the mountain snows were slow to melt; businesses, hospitals, and television stations were left hurt.

Private Nepalese television stations announced five hour cuts to regular broadcasts. Television Broadcasters’ Nepal, a conglomerate of five private stations said they would no longer keep round-the-clock broadcasts as well.

Hospitals, nursing homes, and medical colleges are having difficulty in providing critical services such as Intensive Care Unit (ICU), ventilators, and air conditioners. Intensive care needing 24 continuous hours of power have also become extremely difficult to maintain.

Enraged entrepreneurs in Palpa have presented a memorandum to the NEA demanding that it provide regular electricity. Students of Tribhuvan Bahumukhi campus have complained about the outage, facing difficulties in their studies. Photocopy shops, and other computer-related businesses have protested to the big loss in earnings due to the power cuts. 

This power crisis has set back economic advancement in a country where barely 40 percent of the 27 million people have access to electricity, while the rest depend on wood for cooking and heating.

In response to the power outage, Nepal’s government has declared a national power emergency and decided to install expensive diesel-operated power plants.

Bhat, evaluated that “the situation could ease a little bit in the summer, but the power cuts are here to stay for another five to six years”.

The inability to sustain power will not only falter the government’s popularity, but the economic prosperity of tourism, businesses, education, and healthcare services will weaken as well.

Source: www.AsiaEcon.org
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Source: www.asiaecon.org |


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