Fuel crisis ups power demandDemand for electricity has surged in major cities across the country due to a severe shortage of fuel, especially liquefied petroleum gas (LPG).
Demand for electricity has surged in major cities across the country due to a severe shortage of fuel, especially liquefied petroleum gas (LPG).
The Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) said it had been witnessing a significant increment in energy demand for the past few weeks as shipments of petroleum products from India, the sole source, have been virtually cut off.
The power load on the NEA system has gone up especially during the morning and evening hours when people usually cook their food and use kitchen appliances.
With LPG becoming scarce in the market, people have been compelled to use electric appliances to fulfill their daily needs. Even those having LPG have cut down its use and are using electric appliances as they expect the blockade by India to lengthen and see the need to conserve their gas stocks.
“We have started witnessing an increment in the load on the transformers installed in the big cities,” said Ram Chandra Pandey, chief of the distribution and consumer service directorate at the NEA. “Around 10-15 percent of our transformers have witnessed an increase in the load.” The NEA maintains around 48,000 transformers across the country to manage power distribution.
According to Pandey, the electricity load and energy demand has increased in the city areas where the purchasing power of the people is higher. “A family has to spend more than Rs10,000 if they want to use an induction cooker. Hence, it isn’t easy for people in remote areas to opt for induction. Also, they have other energy sources,” Pandey said.
The NEA said that its power plants were generating around 380 MW of energy at present. Likewise, independent power producers (IPPs) are supplying around 185 MW of energy. Power imports from India amount to around 177 MW.
According to the NEA, all the distribution transformers have the capacity to handle an additional 20 percent of load, hence there won’t be much of a problem even if the load increases.
“We have kept 20 percent of the space in our transformers free to manage a possible rise in the load during emergency situations. We will make the optimum use of the available space to manage the load,” Pandey said.
Despite the unavailability of petroleum products, and it being the winter season when the power generation drops sharply as most of the hydro plants in the country are of the run-of-the-river type, the NEA said that it aimed to not let load-shedding go up to more than 12 hours daily.
Presently, the power outage stands at around six hours daily. “The country’s power demand has been swelling at the rate of 10-15 percent annually. In spite of that, we aim to not exceed last year’s power outage hours,” said Pandey, adding that they planned to increase the efficiency of the NEA’s agencies and maintain the present levels of power imports from India.