Experts Stress Need To Increase Power Consumption, Trade

Experts and stakeholders have stressed on the need for effective implementation of the existing plans to increase electricity consumption in the country and to sell the surplus electricity in the regional market.
While speaking at an interaction on electricity trade and the upcoming budget organised by SEJON) Wednesday, they suggested the government to prepare the budget giving priority to implement the plans related to energy sector.
They commented that even though a good policy had been formulated, it has not been effective to increase Nepal’s electricity consumption and trade internationally due to its lack of proper implementation.
They said that the use of electric vehicles should be promoted to increase electricity consumption internally, electric stoves should be used as an alternative to cooking gas at home and an environment should be created for easy use of electricity in industry and business.
Joint Secretary at the Ministry of Energy, Water Resources and Irrigation Madhu Prasad Bhetwal said that it was a must to identify facts and reasons behind the failure to increase the demand for electricity.
Stating that projects with a capacity of about 17,000 MW are in various stages of construction, he said that consumption would increase if the distribution system is improved.
He also stressed on the need to move ahead by providing some more relief and grants to the industrialists by promoting electric vehicles and facilitating the places declared as special economic zones.
He said that the work of 50 charging stations for electric vehicles had been started recently and a programme with a concrete action plan was needed for the replacement of LP gas.
According to Joint Secretary Bhetwal, it is necessary to reduce the tariff for those who consume more electricity and also to reduce the tariff for electricity during the rainy season.
He informed that the process of giving permission for reservoir projects for 50 years, semi-reservoir projects for 40 years and others was being arranged accordingly.
Member of the Electricity Regulatory Commission Ram Prasad Dhital said that emphasis should be laid on diversification of electricity rather than believing that electricity consumption will increase only by reducing the tariff.
He said that the tariff for rain and winter electricity should be differentiated and objective tariff should be fixed according to the seasons.
Managing Director of Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) Hitendra Dev Shakya said that they were trying to facilitate all the work to be done by the NEA for the development of the overall energy sector of the country.
He said that NEA was working in a coordinated manner in the interest of the general consumers and was also trying to address the demands of the industrialists.
He informed that electricity consumption would increase even if the demand charge for electricity provided by NEA to the industrialists increased slightly and reduced energy charges.
Gyanendra Lal Pradhan, an expert in the energy sector, said that if the electricity market is expanding everywhere, special attention should be paid to increase production rather than looking for it.
Stating that Nepal’s energy is essential for countries like India and Bangladesh, he stressed on the need to set up a mechanism and do urgent work for that.
Gopal Khanal, president of the energy committee of the Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FNCCI), said that government and private sector initiatives would be meaningful only if emphasis was laid on the development and expansion of physical infrastructure.
Krishna Acharya, president of Independent Power Entrepreneurs’ Association of Nepal (IPPAN), stressed on the need to end the situation where one government body does not agree with the other.
He demanded that the upcoming budget should have a clear arrangement to remove the problem of land acquisition, forest area and other procedural hurdles.