Conflict over street lamp tariff to end soon

Himalayan News Service

Lalitpur, June 29:

The Ministry of Local Development (MoLD) has constituted a committee to introduce proper management of recording and billing system of the street lamps so as to resolve a long-standing conflict between the Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) and the municipalities regarding the payment and billing process of the street lamps.

The committee, which includes representatives from the Nepal Municipality Association, NEA, Ministry of Finance and MoLD, will prepare a Memorandum of Understanding within August, said Dinesh Kumar Thapaliya, under-secretary at the MoLD.

He said the committee will prepare a separate cell to regulate street lamps — the number of street lamps with metres will be reviewed and those without metres will be connected to the metres.

“The MoLD paid street lamp bills (of the municipalities) of the fiscal year 2001/02 and 2002/03 to the NEA, which amounted to Rs 210 million,” said Thapaliya.

He said the MoLD managed the amount from one sixth of its income generated from the customs it charged separately.

The municipalities are yet to pay the tariff since fiscal year 2003/04.

Thapaliya said the ministry handled the situation itself after the problem aggravated — dues amounting to Rs 64 crore.

“The MoLD cannot always pay the municipalities’ bills; they should manage themselves.”

To resolve the conflict between NEA and the municipalities, a plan to charge the consumers Rs 2 per month was also introduced in 2001, but it could not be implemented as the decision was challenged at the Supreme Court.