Nepal | July 05, 2020

Government starts inking agreements for electrification

Umesh Poudel
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Kathmandu, July 9

The government has started roping in development partners to fulfil its aim to expand electricity access to every household of the country within three years.

Even though electrification in the country dates back 104 years, nearly 10 per cent of the households still lack access to electricity.

The government is seeking loans and grant assistance from the World Bank (WB), Asian Development Bank (ADB) and Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) to fund the electrification in some of the provinces.

According to Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA), the power utility has already signed an agreement worth $40 million with WB last month to electrify Province 3.

Similarly, it is in the final stage of inking an agreement with the ADB for Province 2, although the assistance amount is yet to be fixed.

Moreover, the government is planning to sign an agreement worth $100 million with AIIB for electrification of provinces 5, Karnali and Sudur Paschim.

As per NEA, provinces 1 and Gandaki will be electrified utilising local resources.

Hara Raj Neupane, deputy managing director of NEA, informed the authority has completed a preliminary study and tentative planning for electrification in all provinces.

“We plan to build more substations and expand major transmission lines to every province, especially the local level headquarters,” he said, adding that as per the federal governing system, the local governments have also been given the mandate to utilise their budget for electrification through local distribution lines.

“We will coordinate with the local governments for the electrification process and are committed to finishing the tasks within the stipulated timeframe,” Neupane said.

The government is inking multi-year contracts with all development partners to utilise the funds for electrification.

Earlier, Minister for Energy, Water Resources and Irrigation Barshaman Pun had given assurance to the Parliament that the electrification process would be completed within the given deadline of three years.

The government had released a white paper in May 2018 stating that 5,000 megawatts of electricity will be generated in the country within five years and 15,000 megawatts in 10 years.

A version of this article appears in print on July 10, 2019 of The Himalayan Times.

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