Money

NEA to save Rs1b a year as it slashes power leakage

- BIBEK SUBEDI, Kathmandu
Electricity leakage has gone down to 23.78pc of supply as of mid-Jan

Feb 12, 2017-

In one of the rare achievements in its history, Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) has cut down electricity leakage by 2 percentage points, reducing its losses by at least Rs1 billion.

According to the state-owned power utility, total electricity leakage has gone down to 23.78 percent of the total supply as of mid-Jan from 25.78 percent at the beginning of the fiscal year in mid-July.

NEA was able to reduce leakage following arrest of some its employees on charges of electricity theft.

NEA has launched a campaign to control electricity theft and leakage since its new Managing Director Kulman Ghising took office in mid-September 2016. At the time of his appointment, the Ministry of Energy had given Ghising a target of reducing electricity leakage by 1 percentage point.

“Since I started heading NEA, the leakage has gone down by 3 percentage points,” said Ghising. “This is because the leakage had increased by 1 percentage point since mid-July to 26.78 percent by the time I assumed office in mid-September.” As per NEA estimates, around Rs500 million could be saved by reducing electricity leakage by 1 percentage point. “If we could give momentum to achievements made so far, we can save at least Rs1 billion by the end of this fiscal year,” Ghising said.

Ghising, however, said he aims at cutting down the leakage by 3.5 percentage points by the end of this fiscal year, enabling NEA to save Rs1.75 billion.

The leakage in electricity at NEA comprises theft and loss during the transmission and distribution. According to NEA, loss during transmission and distribution accounts for 12 percentage points of leakage. “The loss reduction by upgrading the transmission and distribution network will not happen overnight,” said Ghising. “So, we are on our toes to control electricity theft.” Nevertheless, completion of Khimti-Dhalkebar transmission line has contributed in loss reduction, allowing NEA to save up to 10 MW of electricity, Ghising added.

Lately, NEA has been very active in controlling electricity leakage, as it has joined hands with Nepal Police to arrest its employees and customers involved in electricity theft. Police have arrested more than two dozen people including supervisors of the state-owned power utility on charges of electricity theft from different locations in the Capital.

The culprits were arrested for their alleged involvement in meddling with electricity meters to show less consumption of electricity in return for kickback.

Following the arrest, the NEA transferred around 2,480 staff suspecting their involvement in electricity meter tampering that inflicted losses worth billions of rupees every year on the state-owned power utility. The entire staff transferred were from the Distribution and Consumer Services (DCS) Department which is responsible in overall management of distribution networks and services at NEA.

The majority of staff that were transferred were meter readers and supervisors in the DCS Department, including some senior level staff.

Published: 12-02-2017 10:04

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