Saturday, March 4, 2017

Energy losses drop to 17 per cent from 20 per cent

The Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) has succeeded in slashing electricity leakage by 3.63 percentage points in the first half of the current fiscal year, resulting in savings of at least Rs 1.25 billion, according to the government power utility.
Energy loss in terms of monetary value come down to Rs 3.99 billion, based on NEA's average electricity purchase and selling price, during the review period, compared to Rs 4.02 billion in the first six months of the last fiscal year.
Both technical and non-technical loss have come down in the first six months of the current fiscal year ending mid-January compared to the corresponding period of the last fiscal year. NEA officials have attributed the decline to massive leakage control campaign organised by the power utility to end power cuts.
"Energy losses have dropped to 16.75 percent from 20.38 percent during the same period last year," said the managing director of NEA Kulman Ghising.
According to the NEA annual report, leakage had reached as high as 25.78 per cent of the total supply as of the end of the last fiscal year. The NEA was able to cut leakage following a nationwide campaign to prevent power theft and the arrest of some its errant employees.
The NEA’s new managing director Ghising moved to control energy theft and leakage after taking office in mid-September 2016.
The Energy Ministry had told Ghising to cut electricity leakage by 1 percentage point when he was given the job. Ghising in turn delegated responsibility to the regional chiefs to cut losses by the same proportion.
An analysis of energy supply, energy sold and energy losses by all eight regional offices of NEA shows that almost all regional offices have managing to bring down energy loss. The NEA’s Janakpur distribution centre was able to cut leakage to 32.61 per cent in mid-January 2017 from 52.33 per cent during the same time in the last fiscal year, according to the authority.
Likewise, the Biratnagar distribution centre’s losses came down to 16.7 per cent from 19.78 per cent during the period. The authority’s distribution centres in Hetauda, Butwal, Nepalgunj and Pokhara have also been able to cut electricity leakage, Ghising said, adding that the achievement was the result of the hard work done by the NEA staff.
According to the spokesperson of the NEA Prabal Adhikari, the NEA has stepped up efforts to control power leakage by working together with the Nepal Police to arrest employees and customers involved in stealing energy.
Police had arrested more than two dozen people including supervisors of the NEA on charges of electricity theft from different locations in the Capital couple of months ago. They were taken into custody on the charge of tampering with power meters to show less than the actual consumption in return for kickbacks.
Following the bust, the NEA transferred around 2,480 employees on suspicion of tampering with electricity meters which is expected to have caused losses running into billions of rupees to the NEA.
The entire staff at the Distribution and Consumer Services Department – which is responsible for the overall management of distribution networks and services – was transferred. Most of the transferees were meter readers and supervisors, including some senior level staff.
"Apart from controlling theft, the authority is improving the distribution system by upgrading transformers and substations to reduce leakage,” Adhikari said, adding that power leakage is due to theft and loss during transmission and distribution. "The loss during transmission and distribution accounts for 12 percentage points of the total."
The plug in of losses and increased power generation has helped the government power utility to cut the power outage hours to zero. NEA's energy supply has currently increased by 15 per cent to 2.77 billion units in the first six months of the current fiscal year, he said, informing that the NEA calculates energy supply by calculating energy consumed by its customers.
He attributed customers' overwhelming support to the utility's campaign to end load-shedding, among others, for the reduction in energy loss. "Our campaign redefined electricity theft as criminal activity," he added. "The strengthening of distribution system, and upgradation of cables and transformers also helped to bring the technical loss down."

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