Nepal | July 12, 2020

Electricity tripping a major hassle for consumers

Umesh Poudel
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Kathmandu, September 11

Even as the rolling blackouts have ended in the country, frequent electricity tripping due to unreliable distribution and weak local transmission system has been troubling the consumers in the recent days.

Electricity tripping, or power fluctuations in layman’s terms, has equally affected the household consumers, industries and other businesses.

A grill factory owner at New Baneshwor, who did not wish to be named, said he has been facing problems due to electricity tripping since the last three months.

“The unreliable power supply has put me in dilemma — do I buy a generator so that my work does not get affected or refrain from making the additional investment in hope that the Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) will resolve the problem soon?”

The situation is spread out across the country owing to low load handling capacity of the existing distribution system coupled with increased demand for electricity.
Ironically, the government is planning to promote use of electric vehicles as the means of transport as well as electric stoves for cooking to increase the consumption of electricity in the country.

According to Kul Man Ghising, managing director at NEA, all the transformers, feeders and cables are overloaded at present. “We plan to address the issue of electricity tripping as soon as possible by upgrading and replacing the local distribution system,” he added.

Currently NEA is replacing the local distribution system at Ratnapark and Maharajgunj by installing the power lines underground. The power utility said it has given top priority to augmentation of the transmission and distribution system and is installing double circuit high capacity transmission network to enhance the quality of power supply.

“We don’t have any issue in the major transmission lines, the problems are seen in the local distribution system, which is being affected by the rain and other technical problems,” Ghising said, adding that the authority has already replaced all the transmitters in the Valley to ease the situation.

Citing that similar problems have been witnessed outside the Valley as well, Ghising said that the power utility is planning to replace the transmitters across the country. “We have already replaced almost 7,000 transformers across the country in
the last two years,” he said.

He informed that the power utility is replacing 6,000 transformers across the country at present, which will increase the capacity of the distribution system by 20 per cent.

“We are faced with the challenge of additional 5,000 megawatts of electricity being connected to the national grid by 2024,” said Ghising adding that the NEA will have to instal 15,000 new transformers by then.

As an immediate remedy to the electricity tripping, the NEA is upgrading 100 sub-stations across the country, particularly in the load centres and other major problematic areas, he informed, adding that the authority will upgrade the transmission and distribution system to handle additional 1,000 megawatts of power next year.

The country’s peak demand currently stands at 1,360 megawatts, while NEA has been generating 482 megawatts and independent power producers are generating 461 megawatts. The import from India stands at 417 megawatts, while Nepal has also been exporting 38 megawatts to Bihar in India.

Prabal Adhikari, spokespersons for NEA, said the power utility has started installing 400 kVA transmission line from east to west, called the ‘transmission highway’ to address the issue of electricity tripping.

Adhikari further said that in consideration of the complaints by the industrialists, NEA is planning to increase the power supply to industrial areas and major load centres. “For the purpose, NEA is planning to build 220 kVA transmission line outside the Kathmandu Valley.”

A version of this article appears in print on September 12, 2019 of The Himalayan Times.

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