Kathmandu– In a bid to upgrade its distribution system in the Kathmandu Valley, the Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) has started the process of laying underground electric cables in number of locations of the Valley.
According to the authority, it has recently invited bids to install underground distribution system following the piloting of the first phase program in areas covered by the Maharajgunj Distribution Centre and Ratnapark Distribution Centre.
“We have contracted the project at these two locations and now we are looking forward to build similar system in other distribution network of the valley,” NEA Spokesperson told Prabal Adhikari.
Adhikari said the NEA has targeted to improve the distribution system in the valley by implementing the project. “The authority has formulated a master plan to ensure uninterrupted electricity supply system,” he added.
The state-owned power utility’s move has come at a time when consumers have been facing recurring problems of tripping. The sudden power cuts, which the authority has attributed to overload in the system with the freefall in temperature, have been affecting the general people in their household works besides disrupting the business activities.
Along with building the underground cable system, the NEA has also expedited preparatory works to install smart meters in Kathmandu Valley. Adhikari said use of the smart meters will allow the authority to retrieve data of distant consumers without visiting the place physically and will also help in monitoring possible leakages through electricity theft.
Meanwhile, Nepal is receiving loan of Rs 12.76 billion from European Investment Bank to upgrade electricity distribution system. Speaking at a press meet in Kathmandu on Thursday, Minister for Communication and Information Technology Gokul Prasad Baskota said the Cabinet meeting held on Monday decided to sanction the assistant worth 100 million euros.
Dinesh Kumar Ghimire, secretary at the Ministry of Energy, Water Resources and Irrigation, said the fund would be utilized to upgrade and strengthen electricity distribution system in both rural and urban areas. “In addition, the government has planned to use the money to speed up installation of underground distribution system in a number of urban areas including the Kathmandu Valley,” he added.
According to the NEA, the financial assistance will be used to upgrade existing electricity distribution to enable a more reliable supply of energy.
The European Investment Bank has also lent the NEA 30 million euros to finance construction of the Chilime-Trishuli transmission link. The transmission will help to connect 600 MW of clean energy generated from hydropower plants, including independent power producers, on the Trishuli River corridor, to Nepal’s national electricity grid.
According to the Ministry of Communication and Information Technology, the previous cabinet meeting had cleared the right of way for installing transmission lines in number of locations. The government has permitted the NEA to use 103.22 hectares of land of 56 community forests in Dolakha, Sindhupalchowk, Kavrepalanchowk, Kathmandu, and Bhaktapur to install the 220/400 kV transmission line along Tamakoshi-Kathmandu.
Similarly, the government has also cleared right of way for Hetauda-Dhalkebar-Duhabi 400 kV transmission line. With the decision the Nepal Electricity Authority will be allowed to use 80.66 hectares of forest areas of Hetaunda, Chhatiwan, Harnamadi, and Raigaun to build electricity highway and related infrastructure.
Meanwhile, the government has also permitted Rapti Hydro and General Construction Ltd to use the 4.04 hectares of forest land to build 33 kV transmission line for evacuating electricity produced by Rukum Gad Hydropower Project. The decision is expected to expedite construction of the transmission line.
“Land acquisition and clearance for right of way are among the main problems that many hydropower projects have been facing,” said Adhikari.