Kathmandu, May 9

Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) has said that its plan to procure 20 million LED bulbs is for the efficient use of electricity to eliminate load-shedding from the country.

“As per our immediate plan to reduce load-shedding, we have planned efficient use of electricity by replacing existing CFL and other bulbs with LED bulbs,” said NEA Managing Director Kulman Ghising. “We require 200 megawatts of additional power in the winter season this year to cater to the demand of the dry season, but lack large scale projects that can cater to the rising demand.”

After declaring Kathmandu, Bharatpur and Pokhara ‘load-shedding-free cities’ since last year’s dry season, NEA has announced it would eliminate load-shedding across the country from this year.

Organising a press meet at NEA today, Ghising said that eliminating load-shedding is a gigantic task if the needful is not done on the management of demand side. “Replacing the existing bulbs with LED could save 200 megawatts of power, while importing this quantum of power during dry season from India would cost over Rs five billion.”

NEA is going to procure LED from Energy Efficiency Services Ltd (EESL) of India at INR 65 or Rs 104 per bulb. As the Cabinet meeting last week principally agreed to procure the LED bulbs through the government-to-government (G2G) negotiation as proposed by Ministry of Energy, NEA can procure LED from EESL. However, NEA’s deal with EESL has been dragged into controversy as it decided to buy LED bulbs from the Indian supplier without fulfilling any competitive bidding process.

NEA Managing Director Ghising also defended the charge of ‘irregularity’ in procurement process of LED bulbs. “We are ready to be hanged if any irregularity is proven,” he asserted, adding, “We have decided to procure LED bulbs of reputed brands Philips and Osram, which come with three-year replacement warranty from EESL, with the pious objective of efficient use of energy.”

Nepal government has decided to purchase LED lamps from India as per the discussion of the Nepal-India energy secretary-level talks. In last year’s meeting, the Indian side had proposed to supply LED lamps to Nepal for efficient use of available electricity and EESL has forwarded its proposal through the Embassy of India in Kathmandu to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA). The MoFA had then forwarded it to the Ministry of Energy.

EESL had proposed to supply 10 million LED bulbs within three months and another 10 million in the second phase.

NEA is planning to sell these high energy efficient bulbs at Rs 135 to Rs 140 per bulb after adjusting customs, value added tax, transportation charge, handling charge and damage loss, among others.

NEA has also said it is open to purchasing LED bulbs of similar quality at Rs 150 from a Nepali supplier, if any local supplier expresses interest. The power utility has 3.5 million clients at present and is preparing to make use of LED bulbs mandatory.