New Electricity Bill sent to Parliament for ratification
Kathmandu, April 22
The much-awaited new Electricity Bill has been forwarded to the Federal Parliament for ratification after being authorised and finalised by the Office of the Prime Minister and Council of Ministers (OPMCM). The Cabinet meeting on Monday (April 20) approved the draft of the proposed Electricity Bill and sent it to the Parliament.
The bill, which was introduced last week by the Cabinet, was discussed by the legislative committee under the OPMCM. The committee had directed the Ministry of Energy, Water Resources and Irrigation to revise some of the clauses.
A senior official of the ministry informed that the bill was sent back to the OPMCM after fulfilling the instructions of the committee.
“We have completed our tasks as per the direction of the committee and it will be discussed further by the Federal Parliament,” the source said.
The bill includes issues related to issuing hydropower project permits for a maximum period of 45 years, building projects based on market needs, among others. Similarly, it has mentioned that different bodies will be entrusted with the power to generate, build transmission lines, distribution networks and trading electricity.
Currently, the Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) has been doing the work of power generation, distribution, transmission and trade.
The government has set up a power generation and national transmission grid company.
Electricity trading company has also been established within the NEA and a separate unit has been put in place to look into electricity distribution.
Similarly, the new bill states that the responsibility of gauging electricity demand, market and project selection will be given to the Secretariat of the Water and Energy Commission.
Based on the recommendations of the commission, it will be decided which project will be constructed and when.
Moreover, the proposed bill also has a provision whereby a project will have to take approval from Nepal Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) before signing power purchase agreement (PPA). Earlier, power developers used to sign PPA with Nepal Electricity Authority.
As per the bill, projects generating up to three megawatts of electricity will be issued licence by the local bodies, three to 20 MW by provincial governments and projects of above 20 MW will have to get the licence from the Ministry of Energy, Water Resources and Irrigation.
However, the local bodies and provincial governments will have to coordinate with the ministry while granting the permit.
A version of this article appears in e-paper on April 23, 2020, of The Himalayan Times.