Difference over price blows fuse on power purchase by Nepal

Kathmandu, Feb 11 (IANS) Nepal’s bid to import additional 80 MW electricity from India has been short-circuited by the price proposed to be charged by power supply utilities, the Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) has said.

NEA, the sole state-owned utility for generating and distributing power in the Himalayan country, said different prices quoted by India’s National Thermal Power Corporation Vidyut Vyapar Nigam (NVVN) and Power Trading Corporation (PTC) to Nepal had hit the whole import process.

It has now sought intervention at the government-level to break the impasse.

Nepal had agreed to import 80 MW power through the newly-installed 400-kV Dhalkebar-Muzaffarpur cross-border transmission line from February 16. The transmission line is scheduled to be tested from Saturday.

NEA managing director Mukesh Kafle said PTC was earlier supposed to supply 80 MW electricity at Nepali Rs.5.50 per unit (Indian Rs.3.45), but a demand for Nepali Rs.8.80 per unit (Indian Rs.5.50) had been raised.

“The issue came to the fore after a new power agency was brought on board to supply electricity to Nepal. We are doing our bit to resolve the issue at the earliest,” Kafle said.

After NEA’s appeal to Indian entities to abide by the earlier proposal on price failed, it has written to India’s Power Ministry through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on the issue though India was yet to respond to the Nepali request.

“We are sure the government-to-government negotiations will yield positive results,” the NEA chief said.

Nepal purchases energy from the PTC at Rs.5.80 per unit on an average. The country is currently importing 200-230 MW electricity from India everyday. The import of additional power will help reduce load-shedding by around two hours daily, which currently is 15 hours.

Kafle said the NEA could not import additional energy until the price-related issue was resolved.

“It is a commercial deal and without clarity on price we simply cannot act,” he said, adding that he was optimistic the issue would be resolved soon.

(Anil Giri can be contacted at girianil@gmail.com)

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