Power project rules in for a change

Kathmandu, June 27:

The Ministry of Water Resources is divided over whether or not to effect changes in policies governing issuance of survey licences to aspiring power developers.

The changes are being considered in the light of the situation whereby aspiring developers apply for survey licence for the project of their choice, but end up sitting on it, a source at the ministry told this daily. Often the developers have been found to be on the lookout to sell off the licences just in case they fail to find a financier before implementing the project.

The government has issued survey licences to around 200 aspiring developers, while the number of projects taken up is negligible, substantiating the claim that many apply just to trade licences. This suggests there are as many number of firms “prospecting for potential partner with at least one project survey licence in hand.” Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA), Butwal Power Company and Sanima group of companies, among some others, are the only players which have wider recognition.

If the new policies come into force, the firms which have licences will have to pay annual charges for the licences in their possession.

One can get a licence by paying anything starting from Rs 150, depending on the installed capacity of the project applied for.

The idea is at its initial phase, while the officials are divided over its implementation. Anup Upadhayay, the ministry’s spokesman, said, “The governing law was devised to attract investors in water resource harnessing and that any changes could send an adverse signal.” His remark only brought forth the differences the officials have on the issue.

NEA Bill delay

KATHMANDU: The endorsement of the Electricity Act-2007 by the Cabinet is being delayed, affecting plans to unbundle the NEA and the formation of the Nepal Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC). The bill is currently at the cabinet committee. Senior officials said the “fate of the bill is uncertain until it is actually passed.” The bill was on the “list of businesses billed as urgent” and was supposed to be passed by June 1. — HNS