Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) has said that power outage hours might increase if the government fails to arrange Rs 5 billion within couple of weeks to foot electricity import bills.
Speaking at the meeting of parliamentary Agriculture and Water Resources on Monday, Mukesh Raj Kafle, managing director of NEA, said they have not been able to clear dues with different Indian agencies as the finance ministry has not reimbursed the amount that NEA loses while importing electricity from the southern neighbor.
NEA has been making payment to India ever week or month depending on agencies. Earlier, it had been paying bills in advance to enjoy incentives offered by the supplier.
Nepal has been importing around 7.7 million units of energy from India on a daily basis.
The committee organized the meeting to monitor the Energy Development Plan 2016/26 which was unveiled in February to address country’s power crisis.
Per unit import cost of electricity is around Rs 3 per unit higher, including technical loss, than what NEA collects from consumers. It is one of the reasons why the country’s power utility reports loss every year.
NEA increased energy imports from India, even though price is higher than what it offers to domestic hydropower plants, after Ministry of Finance agreed to compensate for the loss as per the load-shedding minimization plans announced some four years ago. But NEA has not received even a penny from the finance ministry for the past two years.
NEA’s annual loss was in tune of Rs 4.5 billion in the last fiscal year. Officials estimate that loss figure will at least double in the current fiscal year as the country started importing additional 80 MW from February.
NEA so far has been paying Indian agencies mobilizing resources of its other undergoing projects. An NEA official, who requested anonymity because he is not authorized to talk to media, said undergoing projects will be affected as the power utility does not have money to pay for their works.