Power to the people is close to realisation in Nepal, says World Bank reportElectricity now reaches 95 percent of households, and the government is trying to get people to use more of it.
Power to the people is close to realisation in Nepal with 95 out of 100 households having access to electricity, and 72 out of 100 households receiving reliable, affordable and uninterrupted supply for a significant part of the day, says a World Bank survey.
“Providing access to high-quality energy services to each and every person in Nepal is one of the top priorities of the government. We are working to achieve 100 percent energy access by the year 2023,” said Dinesh Kumar Ghimire, secretary of the Ministry of Energy, Water Resources and Irrigation.
Despite the progress in coverage and quality of electricity access, about 70 out of 100 Nepali households are still burning good old firewood and other polluting and harmful fuels in their kitchens, the survey shows.
The report released on Thursday at the two-day Power Summit has come at a time when the country is witnessing a decline in the import of electrical kitchen ware including induction cookers, ovens, toasters, coffee and tea makers while the use of liquefied petroleum gas cylinders has been growing at an annual rate of around 15 percent.
According to Customs Department figures, the import of electric cookers, ovens, boiling rings, grillers and roasters declined by 15 percent year-on-year in the first quarter of fiscal 2019-20.
During the review period, Nepal witnessed a fall in the import of electro-thermic tea and coffee makers by 51 percent, toasters by 26 percent, and wall or window-mounted air conditioning machines by 9 percent.
At the same time, the import of electrical home and beauty care appliances such as perfume diffusers, facial steamers, hairdryers and clothing airers — which have a minimum contribution to electricity consumption and irregular use pattern — swelled by 23 percent.
According to Nepal Electricity Authority officials, the reluctance of Nepali households to use more electricity in their kitchens could lead to spillage as the country's power plants are slated to generate surplus energy from next year.
“To increase domestic consumption, we have been consistently urging households to use induction cookers besides making massive investments to reinforce our distribution infrastructure so that we will be able to manage the additional load created by the use of such appliances and electric vehicle charging stations,” said Kulman Ghising, managing director of the Nepal Electricity Authority.
“It is a big challenge to avert possible spillage by increasing domestic consumption, but we must achieve the target of increasing the per capita consumption of electricity from the current level.”
The government has targeted to increase the per capita electricity consumption from 245 kilowatt hours to 400 kilowatt hours by the fiscal year 2021-22.
As per the World Bank report, about 67 percent of Nepali households had uninterrupted access to electricity for at least eight hours a day, where supply is affordable, reliable and conducive for the use of household appliances.
About 71.7 percent of households drew electricity from the national grid, and 23 percent were connected to off-grid sources like micro or mini-hydro and solar power, the survey shows.
“Since the 2017 survey, Nepal has made further progress by increasing the grid electrified population from 72 to 78 percent. The country has been load-shedding free since 2018,” said Faris H Hadad-Zervos, World Bank country manager for Nepal.
“We celebrate these achievements made by Nepal and are very proud of being a partner with the government in further improving the quality of energy services for lighting and clean cooking and better the life of the people in Nepal.”
The Nepal national household-level survey is part of the Global Survey on Energy Access, which relies on the Multi-Tier Framework approach piloted by the World Bank with the support of the Energy Sector Management Assistance Programme.
Despite the progress and quality of electricity supply, the country still lacks clean cooking solutions. The survey shows that about 73.5 percent of households rely on unhealthy and traditional sources of cooking fuel and only 17.5 percent of the households have access to modern cooking services.
“The government will put more emphasis on clean cooking solutions and aim to achieve one electric stove in every home, as stated in the vision laid out in the Energy White Paper in 2018, to end the heavy reliance on imported liquefied petroleum gas for cooking,” said Madhusudhan Adhikari, executive director of the Alternative Energy Promotion Centre.
The survey suggests that for a better quality of electricity access, households that access electricity through the grid, micro-hydro and mini-hydro sources must have electricity available for longer hours, particularly between 6 and 10 pm. The supply must also be reliable with fewer unexpected interruptions and voltage fluctuation issues.