The demand for electricity has fallen sharply over the past few decades. Generally, the demand for electricity decreases drastically during the decade.
Due to the decades, more than 3 million units of electricity are being wasted every day. At present, when 30 million rupees of electricity is wasted daily, the Nepal Electricity Authority has no option to increase the consumption immediately, nor can it be sent to India.
According to Suresh Bahadur Bhattarai, head of the NEA’s dispatch center, up to 300 MW of electricity is being wasted in the afternoon and 300 MW at night.
In the morning and evening peak hours, most of the electricity generated from Nepal is used. When only a small amount of electricity is imported from India, the demand for peak hours is met.
According to Bhattarai, there is a demand for up to 1,200 MW of electricity during peak hours this evening. The demand is up to 700 MW in the afternoon. It drops from 500 to 5 and a half megawatts at night.
As the ‘quantity’ of electricity demand changes every hour, there is an obligation to bring electricity from India at home, even if it is at home. Even though electricity can be exchanged in Bihar, the Bihar government has not shown interest in getting electricity this year.
The power being wasted by NEA has become a matter of great concern now. It is seen that the management of wasted electricity will be a problem for the NEA in the next few weeks.
After this year’s good rains, the water level in the rivers has increased along with the production of electricity. Due to the increase in domestic production, the amount of electricity coming from India has decreased drastically.
As the demand will decrease from 11 pm to 4 pm, millions of units of electricity are still being wasted. During the decade, even in the afternoon, electricity is being wasted.
Factories and hotels have not been able to run at full capacity after the lockdown. Due to this, the demand for electricity has not been able to increase. Most of the industries and factories are also closed during Dashain-Tihar. Electricity generation has also increased due to the flow of clean water in the rivers.
Due to these various reasons, the demand/consumption of electricity is certain to decrease in the next one month. In this case, the next few months will be a big challenge for NEA not to waste a lot of electricity.
NEA has to shut down the production units of its projects as the production is more than the demand. Doing so wastes electricity.
NEA is bringing up to 100 MW of electricity from India in a few hours due to a lack of domestic production in the afternoon. As the demand increases in the evening peak hour, about 250 MW of electricity has to be imported.
At present, the demand for electricity is around 500 MW at night. While in Nepal, more than one thousand megawatts of electricity is continuously available in the system from the projects of NEA’s own and private hydropower promoters.
The private sector can generate about 600 MW and NEA projects 450 MW on an average. 106 MW of Kulekhani is not connected to it. The demand for electricity up to one thousand megawatts is essential to prevent wastage of electricity.
NEA has entered into a purchase agreement in the ‘take or pay’ model to take electricity from private producers. NEA has been wasting electricity by shutting down its own projects as it has to pay the bills even if it does not take electricity from private producers.
When 300 MW of electricity is wasted for one hour, 3 million units are wasted. When 3 million units of electricity is wasted, NEA loses around Rs 30 million. As the demand will decrease from 11 pm to 4 pm, millions of units of electricity were being wasted even before this.
NEA officials say that the amount of electricity to be wasted at night has increased after the rains stopped and water flooded the rivers. There is no alternative to wasting a lot of electricity when there is an uninterrupted flow of clean water in the rivers till mid-November, November, and December.
In the last rainy season, tens of millions of electricity were sent to India through projects. At present, electricity is also exported from Bihar, India for some time daily when there is a demand. There has been no demand from India as in the past.
Electricity consumption has also declined in Bihar this year. India is not compelled to buy Nepal’s wasted electricity as there is no understanding at the government level. Even before this, electricity was sent to Bihar on the initiative of NEA. However, the NEA does not have the leadership to take the initiative as in the past.
Waste electricity In order to sell electricity in Bihar, one has to discuss and communicate with the officials there on a daily basis. At present, NEA does not have the kind of leadership that can coordinate. In the previous year’s monsoon, the authority had sent more than Rs 800 million to India.
The Upper Tamakoshi project (456 MW) is expected to generate electricity by next Pus unless new obstacles are added.
The government’s plan to consume more electricity during the rainy season is in limbo. The government aims to increase per capita energy consumption by 90 units in the next year. It is planned to increase the per capita electricity consumption from the current 260 units to 350 units.
Three years ago, such consumption was 150 units. In order to achieve the government’s target, such consumption rate should reach 700 units in the next two years. However, the policy of encouraging energy consumption in the country did not come this year.
Energy officials have said that the decision to increase taxes on induction cookers, electric vehicles, and electrical appliances has discouraged domestic consumption. Nepal has no choice but to increase domestic electricity consumption to a large extent or sell it in the Indian market.
The government has given pre-approval to the Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) to sell electricity in the day-to-day and term-aided markets, but India has not yet opened the way for the authority in its market. The government claims that it is in discussions with NTPC Power Trading Corporation Limited (NVVN) of India.
According to India’s directive on international electricity trade, imported electricity cannot be sold directly. The directive stipulates that foreign electricity can be traded only through NVVN.
NEA agreed to work with NVVN as an agency last year. Now, as per the directive, India’s Ministry of Energy has yet to issue a ‘Conduct of Business Rule’ (CRB).
However, in Nepal, electricity has to be wasted by shutting down projects that generate tens of millions of rupees of electricity daily.