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Udayapur Cement losing millions to power cuts

   February 7, 2019        189        MAHESHWAR CHAMLING RAI

Udayapur Cement Industries Ltd (UCIL), which has made astounding recovery under the new management, is facing crisis again due to power cuts of as much as 13 hours a day.

The state-owned cement producer lost millions of rupees last month alone.

Nabal Kishor Shah, the general manager of UCIL, said that the cement company is facing power cuts of as much as six times a day.

This has deeply hurt the company’s business as frequent power cuts have damaged its machineries.  Further, the company needs more electricity to restart the plant and is also facing decline in production, according to Shah.

The company has production capacity of 800 tons of clinkers per day. Since October, it was producing as much as 820 tons on good days. However, frequent power cuts have crippled its production capacity.

According to the UCIL management, the company could produce only 104 tons of clinkers on January 31 which is equivalent to 23 percent of its full capacity. “It was one of the most inefficient days for production,” Shah said on the matter.

The power cuts have also taken toll on production facility of the state-owned company. The gears in cement-packing equipment were damaged as a result of power cuts, causing operation to come to a grinding halt for six days – from January 12 to 19. There have been a total of 62 power cuts between January 15 and February 2.

“On a daily basis, there can be anywhere between one to six power cuts that can last for mere seconds to as much as 13 hours,” said Sanjay Lal Karna, an engineer working with UCIL.

He lamented that the Nepal Electricity Authority was doing nothing to reduce power cuts despite repeated requests by the company officials.

Similarly, talking about the scale of the loss that the recent power cuts have brought, Deputy General Manager Dhruba Devkota said that the power cuts lasting for mere seconds can cost as much as several hundred thousand rupees as a massive amount of electricity is required to restart operations.

NEA is providing electricity to the UCIL from Lahan and Jaljale substations.

Ram Yodha Yadav, chief of the NEA’s Distribution Centre in Gaighat, blamed the incompetency of the officials of Lahan substation for the problem.

According to UCIL’s Accounts Division, 62 power cuts lasting a total of 23 hours till February 3 has caused the company losses to the tune of Rs 50 million.

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