Friday, December 19, 2008

Govt ‘in the dark’ about diesel plant economics

No end to load shedding for next five years

Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) officials have criticised the government proposition to set up costly thermal power plants a day after the cabinet announced 'Energy Crisis'. Private entrepreneurs, meanwhile, said the private sector could lose Rs 75 billion next year due to power shortage, an amount equal to almost half the government’s annual budget.
Speaking at a programme, organised by the Reporters’ Club here today, two senior officials of the NEA said the government should search for otheralternatives. “A diesel-run thermal plant is not only expensive but also hi-tech,” said Uttar Kumar Shrestha, executive director, NEA. One of the immediate options would be to purchase power from India by repairing the flood-damaged transmission lines as soon as possible, he said. Nepal, currently, has an agreement with India to import 120 MW of electricity. Koshi flood fury has damaged the Duhabi-Kataiya transmission line through which 40 MW of electricity is to be imported.
The NEA is planning to repair the flood-damaged transmission lines from February once the situation improves. Until then people will have to face 16-hour load-shedding. “NEA is not the only entity responsible for the load-shedding, the government and the private sector are also to blame,” Shrestha said.
Contrary to the Maoist-led government's programme of generating 10,000 MW in 10 years, he however, said that 700 MW will be generated in next five years. According to Shrestha, it would take another five years before load-shedding could be a thing of the past.
Dr Jeebendra Jha, who looks after the supply side of the NEA, blamed the government for not doing enough home-work. “The cabinet’s decision to install thermal plant will be a ‘disaster”. Besides, it is not viable both financially and physically,” he said. “Over-politicisation in hydropower has led the country to this dark hour,” he added.
Gyanendra Bahadur Pradhan, entrepreneur and hydro-expert, also emphasised immediatealternatives. “Industries are being hit hard. And, closure of industries due to power cut will lead to unemployment problem,” he reasoned.

White PaperWhite paper on energy crisis: PM
KATHMANDU: Speaking on the occasion of the sixth AGM of the Confederation of Nepalese Industries (CNI) here today, Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda’ said that his government wasworking to resolve the problems afflicting the industrial sector and bring an end to the practice of strikes, bandhs and closures.He laid the blame for the current power supply crisis at the doorsteps of the previous governments and accused them of shortsightedness in regard to the energy sector. Prachanda also said that he would bring out a white paper on the energy crisis. Earlier, during the royal regime also the former king wanted top bring the thermal plant and the people protested. Almost after two years the Maoist-led government is also hell bent on bringing the costly thermal plant. All the king's ment are now advisors to the Maoists and they are fooling both the Maoists and people.

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