The Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) has announced that there will be no power cuts during Tihar, known as the festival of lights, when people set the city ablaze and power consumption shoots up sharply.
The state-owned power utility said it was in a comfortable position to meet the increased demand for electricity. The power utility has forecast that energy demand will reach 1270 MW on Wednesday when Hindu Nepalis celebrate Laxmi Puja by worshipping the goddess of wealth. Most of the demand for electricity during Tihar comes from households for lighting purposes as factories remain closed.
The electricity generated by hydropower projects owned by the NEA and private power producers and the electricity imported from India will be enough to meet demand, according to NEA Managing Director Kulman Ghising. “We are in a comfortable position to meet the projected demand of 1270 MW,” said Ghising. “Even if demand reaches 1350 MW, we will be able to meet it.”
As electricity generation by hydropower projects in the country has gone down due to a fall in the water level in the rivers where the power plants are located, the power utility is relying on electricity imported from India to meet national demand.
Currently, the hydropower projects owned and operated by the NEA can generate up to 470 MW electricity during peak hours while privately-owned power plants can generate up 350 to 370 MW. Similarly, the power utility can import 400 to 450 MW of electricity from India via more than a dozen cross-border transmission lines.
“Considering all these sources, we are in a comfortable position in terms of supply to meet the increased demand for electricity during the festival,” said Suresh Bahadur Bhattarai, chief of the load dispatch centre at the NEA. “However, we also have to keep our supply system updated and responsive to keep the country free from load-shedding during the festival when demand is high.”
The power utility said that a team was stationed at every substation in the country which will work round the clock to deal with any power supply disruptions. “Similarly, we will keep adequate staff at the NEA’s all ‘no light’ offices where people can report power cuts in their area,” said Bhattarai. “Our staff will respond immediately to restore any power cuts.”
It has been several years since the NEA began ensuring uninterrupted power supply during the Tihar festival when demand spikes with everybody draping their houses with strings of lights. Apart from a few places, the country didn’t witness power cuts during last year’s festival. Last year, a NEA team led by Ghising was stationed at the load dispatch centre at Syuchatar, Kathmandu to respond to any problem that might arise. The team remained at the centre until midnight when demand for electricity started to wane.
The Kathmandu Post