Nepal-India power panel to meet after six year hiatus
- BIBEK SUBEDI, Kathmandu
Aug 2, 2017-
The Nepal-India Power Exchange Committee is scheduled to meet for the second time in six years this fortnight. Officials of the Central Electricity Authority (CEA) of India and the Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) will be taking part in the conference. The Nepal-India Power Exchange Committee is authorised to make decisions on a number of issues related to cross-border electricity trade like tariff rate, amount of power and modality of power trading. The first meeting of the committee was held in 2011. Meetings are required to be held annually, but they have not happened because of India’s unwillingness. The NEA has long been pressing India for meetings to be held as it wants to review the charge for electricity purchased from different state governments in India. Nepal currently imports electricity through more than half a dozen cross-border transmission lines from several state governments. The CEA recently wrote to the NEA proposing to hold the long stalled committee meeting on August 9.
“The letter also asked if the NEA was ready for the meeting on the proposed date,” said NEA Managing Director Kulman Ghising. “We wrote back proposing that it be held from August 7-9. If the CEA agrees, an NEA team under my leadership will travel to Delhi next week.” The CEA, according to an NEA source, became ready to hold the meeting after Indian Power Minister Piyush Goyal urged the Indian state-owned authority to hold it before his probable visit to Nepal later in August.
Nepal’s Ambassador to India Deep Kumar Upadhyay had also been lobbying Indian political leaders and government officials including Minister Goyal to hold the meeting. “We will request the Indian officials to reduce prices of the electricity imported from different Indian states,” said Ghising. Currently, Nepal imports around 300 MW of electricity from India through various cross-border transmission lines. Around 50 percent of the total imports are done through the Dhalkebar-Muzaffarpur and Tanakpur-Mahendranagar power lines.
The energy imported through these lines cost IRs 3.60 per unit while purchases made through other cross-border lines from different Indian state-owned authorities cost IRs 5.62 to IRs 6.08 per unit. The first meeting of the Nepal-India Power Exchange Committee had fixed the tariff at less than IRs 4 per unit. It was agreed to review prices at subsequent meetings that would be held annually. “As no meetings have been held since then, the tariff rate grew by 5 percent every year as decided by the first meeting,” said Ghising.