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NEA: Electricity leakage down to 22.9 percent

- Post Report, Kathmandu

Intense efforts by the Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) to slash electricity leakage in the last fiscal year resulted in a loss reduction of 2.88 percentage points, which translates into savings of more than Rs2 billion.

Energy losses have dropped to 22.90 percent from 25.78 percent, according to the annual report published by the state-owned power utility.

The NEA was able to cut leakage following a nationwide campaign to prevent power theft and the arrest of several errant employees. NEA Managing Director Kulman Ghising moved to control energy theft and leakage after taking office in September 2016 as instructed by the Energy Ministry when he was given the appointment.

The ministry had told Ghising to cut electricity leakage by 1 percentage point when he was given the job. Ghising, in turn, delegated responsibility to the regional chiefs to cut losses by the same proportion. However, he surpassed the given target by almost threefold.

Ghising told the Post that he was not satisfied with the result achieved so far, and planned to cut the leakage further in the coming days. “We are planning to bring the leakage down to below 20 percent in this fiscal year,” said Ghising.  

Lately, the NEA has stepped up efforts to control power leakage by working together with the Nepal Police to arrest employees and customers involved in stealing energy.

Police have arrested more than two dozen people including supervisors of the NEA on charges of electricity theft from different locations in the Capital. They were taken into custody on the charge of tampering with power meters to show less than the actual consumption in return for kickbacks.

During the last fiscal year, the NEA transferred around 2,480 employees on suspicion of tampering with electricity meters which is expected to have caused losses running into billions of rupees to the NEA.

The entire staff at the Distribution and Consumer Services (DCS) Department, which is responsible for the overall management of distribution networks and services, was transferred. Most of the transferees were meter readers and supervisors, including some senior level staff.

Following these initiatives, the NEA was able to reduce its net losses radically in the last fiscal year. The state-owned power utility posted a net loss of Rs970 million in the last fiscal year, a whopping 89 percent drop from the previous fiscal year’s Rs8.89 billion.

Meanwhile, revenues increased significantly to Rs50 billion in the last fiscal year, up Rs15 billion from the previous year’s Rs35 billion.

Complaint hotline to be set up
Energy Minister Mahendra Bahadur Shahi has directed the Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) to prioritize customer service. Shahi ordered the power utility to make arrangements so that customers from all distribution centres would be able to lodge complaints about the service round the clock.

“You must have the arrangement in place within a couple of days,” Shahi told a programme organised by the NEA to mark its 32nd anniversary. “I am arranging a hotline number at the ministry which NEA customers can call to file a complaint. The ministry will intervene immediately to address such grievances.” (PR)

Published: 2017-08-18 08:05:06