Kul Man Ghising may return as chief of electricity authorityEnergy minister has openly expressed her displeasure at the way the incumbent Shakya has led the power utility.
Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba has asked Energy Minister Pampha Bhusal to appoint Kul Man Ghising new managing director of Nepal Electricity Authority by removing the incumbent, Hitendra Dev Shakya, two sources at the Prime Minister’s personal secretariat and Energy Ministry said.
Energy Minister Bhusal has been publicly expressing her displeasure at the performance of Shakya with the power utility reporting a higher percentage of power leakage and its profits falling. With the new government reconsidering many appointments made by the previous KP Sharma Oli administration, Shakya is also facing the axe.
“Prime Minister (Deuba) invited Minister Bhusal to Baluwatar and directed her to take necessary measures to appoint Ghising,” the source at the Prime Minister’s personal secretariat said.
A source at the Energy Ministry also said that the ministry may soon seek clarification from Shakya over the ‘growing power leakage’, increased power import from India amid projections that the electricity generated in the country could go to waste, and frequent power cuts in recent days.
“The energy minister has already evaluated the performance of Shakya and found it to be unsatisfactory,” the source said. “The energy minister is studying the evaluation report. If she is not happy with Shakya’s performance, he will be asked to submit a clarification.”
According to officials at the authority, the profit of the state-owned power utility body is expected to decrease substantially in the fiscal year 2020-21, which concluded in mid-July.
In an interview with the Post earlier this week, Shakya himself had admitted that profit in the fiscal year 2020-21 could have dropped by a half compared to the previous fiscal year 2019-20.
In 2019-20, the authority’s profit was Rs11.6 billion. Shakya told the Post that the authority’s profit for 2020-21 could be between Rs6 billion and Rs6.5 billion.
He said that the profit was affected due to the tariff waivers that the government announced through the budget for the last fiscal year including a full tariff waiver for households consuming less than 10 units per month.
He added that electricity leakage also increased by 1.6 percent to over 16 percent in the last fiscal year 2020-21 compared to a year earlier.
Last year, despite widespread calls from the public to continue Ghising as the managing director of the authority because of his successful tenure, the Oli-led government decided against extending his term, which expired in September.