Your search keywords:

Six hours daily power cut in industrial areas

Six hours daily power cut in industrial areas
With Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) struggling to import sufficient electricity from India, industrial corridors across the country are now experiencing six hours of daily power cuts. NEA has been enforcing load shedding of three hours each in the peak hours of morning and evening in the industrial areas across the country. According to industrialists, such power cut has been happening now from 6-9 am in the morning and 5-8 pm in the evening. Industries in major industrial hubs such as Biratnagar, Birgunj, Hetauda, and Bhairahawa have been hard hit by the latest power cut. Although Nepal has started exporting surplus electricity to India during the wet season, it has to import electricity in the dry season to meet the power demand. It is because almost all of the power production in the country is based on run-of-the-river hydropower plants.

The dry season runs from December to April while the wet season lasts from May to November. According to NEA, the run-of-the-river type hydropower projects usually produce less than 40 percent of their installed capacity as water levels in the rivers decrease significantly during the dry season.

Currently, the total installed capacity of hydropower plants in Nepal is 2,300-2,400 MW. However, the current electricity generation is around 1,100 MW, whereas the demand during peak hours is 1,600-1,700 MW. According to the NEA, 500-600 MW of electricity is needed to meet the demand of peak hours. As production capacity drops to 40 percent during the dry season, NEA has to manage the electricity supply by importing from India. The current power cuts, according to NEA are due to lower imports of power from India. According to NEA Spokesperson Suresh Bhattarai, the state-owned power utility has to resort to power cuts as electricity import from India has not happened as demanded by the NEA. "There is a power cut in industrial corridors and large industries during peak hours," said Bhattarai, "Such power cut is especially in big industries and industrial hubs." Bhattarai said that the NEA has been in touch with Indian authorities to resolve the current crisis. Suyesh Pyakurel, President of the Chamber of Industries Morang, said that industries in Sunsari-Morang Industrial Corridor have been forced to close the industries due to the power cut. "While the NEA has been giving prior information about the power cut, industries have been suffering due to disruption in power supply," he said. Power cuts at manufacturing plants have caused a drop in production besides damaging expensive equipment, say industrialists. They demand that NEA needs to announce load shedding formally as the power utility has failed to maintain an adequate supply of electricity in the country. As Nepal is likely to face power shortage for some more years, especially during the dry season, the NEA should formally announce the load shedding by setting a routine, they say. "We all know, there is a power shortage every winter. We cannot ask for electricity in such a scenario. It would be better if NEA announces load shedding formally during the winter season, said Pyakurel, adding, "While we have been given prior information about the power cuts for the next day. But there is also no guarantee that there will be a power supply after that. If that is guaranteed, we would have made our schedule accordingly to operate industries."