Nepal airs concern over India’s guidelines for power trade

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Kathmandu, Dec 12 (IANS) At a time when India’s newly issued cross-border trade of electricity has raised several eyebrows in Nepal, the Indian Embassy in Kathmandu said on Monday that it will facilitate and promote such cross-border power trade with greater transparency in regulatory approaches.

After the Indian Ministry of Power issued new guidelines on December 10, Nepali media started reporting that it has many discriminatory provisions that prohibit private hydropower developers in Nepal from exporting electricity to India with a one-time approval.

The new guidelines state that only companies in Nepal which are wholly owned by the Indian government or the private sector, or private companies with 51 per cent or higher Indian stake would be eligible to export power to India and these companies will be given one-time approval to sell power to India.

Nepal has decided to talk with India on this, according to the media reports. At rpesent, India has cross-border trade of electricity with Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal and Myanmar.

The embassy, while clarifying the Indian position said, “The guidelines specify the institutional framework and the required processes to facilitate power trade. It also broadly specifies about the participating entities and provisions have been made such that maximum entities get opportunity to trade electricity with India.”

It stated that under ease of doing business, India has simplified the process for all the government-owned companies of the neighbouring countries, but this does not debar other entities from participating in the trade of electricity.

“The guidelines also facilitate determination of tariff for such trade of electricity.”

Even though the power exchanges are not operational in the neighbouring countries and they do not have significant experience of trading power through the power exchanges, India has taken lead in promoting trade of electricity with neighbouring countries through Indian Power Exchanges.

“The modalities and products of such power trade through the exchanges will be as per the extant power market regulations.”

The guidelines also talk about the transmission system, scheduling and accounting, grid operation safety and security, etc.

The present guidelines give broad contours on cross-border trade of electricity. The detail process and procedure will be made more transparency through the regulations, which will be issued shortly by Central Electricity Regulatory Commission (CERC), the Indian mission stated.

Reports in media, citing guidelines, said that private companies owned by Nepali or third country developers wishing to export power to the Indian market can do so only after obtaining the approval of the designated authority on a case-to-case basis.

With the issuance of these guidelines, it is expected that the hydropower potential of the neighbouring countries, which has not been harnessed over the years, will be developed on fast track basis as the stakeholders, including financers, would be having transparency in the utilisation of such power projects, the statement claimed.

The embassy said that the guidelines are based broadly on the experience gained over the years.

At present, India’s the trade of electricity with neighbouring countries has increased manifold. Particularly with Bangladesh, India has been able to supply 6 Billion Unit (BU) of power within a span of three years and is considering to enhance this supply.

Around 2 BU of electricity has been supplied to Nepal in the past two years. Many more cross-border inter-connections have been planned and would be implemented in shortest possible time with a view to enhancing power trade.

–IANS

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