Nepal | March 28, 2020

Private industries refuse to pay extra energy bill

Himalayan News Service

Kathmandu, May 7

The country’s three leading private sector umbrella organisations — Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FNC- CI), Confederation of Nepalese Industries (CNI) and Nepal Chamber of Commerce — have said that they will not pay the additional fee that Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) has decided to impose on industries.

The power utility has decided to charge an extra 65 per cent fee for the electricity it supplies to industries through the dedicated trunk line.

Earlier, NEA had forwarded a letter to more than 250 factories that have been availing additional electricity through the trunk line asking them to pay the amount for the energy consumed by those industries since fiscal year 2016-17.

Addressing a press conference here today, Bhawani Rana, president of FNCCI, said that the NEA’s decision is in violation of the law.

“The amount that NEA is asking us to pay is huge and if we have to pay that amount, then there will be no alternative for us other than to shut down our industries.”

“The concept of a dedicated trunk line for industries is good, but the NEA has decided to impose the extra fee on even those industries, which have not signed an agreement to avail that service,” she informed.

Pashupati Murarka, former president of FNCCI, mentioned that the letter from NEA seeking 65 per cent extra fee for power supplied through the dedicated trunk line was very disappointing and will discourage investors. “We have decided not to pay the additional amount to NEA and if necessary we will seek a meeting with the prime minister to look for a viable solution.”

Moreover, Satish Kumar More, president of CNI, said this measure adopted by NEA is discouraging for domestic investors. “It is not a good decision made by the government,” he said, adding that this move by the power utility will be an obstacle to attract foreign investors as investors look for a conducive climate before making any investment decision.

“Which foreign investor would want to come to Nepal if domestic investors themselves are being discouraged by the government?” More questioned.

Meanwhile, Kul Man Ghising, managing director of NEA, told The Himalayan Times that the authority forwarded letters to industries to pay their due electricity fees as per law. “If the industries continue to put off making the payment, then we will take legal action.”

The private sector umbrella organisations, meanwhile, have filed a petition at the Supreme Court on the matter, but the apex court has yet to give its decision.

A version of this article appears in print on May 08, 2019 of The Himalayan Times.

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