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50MW to be imported via Kushaha-Kataiya power line

- BIBEK SUBEDI, Kathmandu

Mar 27, 2017-

The Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) plans to import 50 MW of electricity from India via the newly built Kushaha-Kataiya cross-border transmission line while proposed imports of another 50 MW through the Parwanipur-Raxaul transmission line will not happen for more than a month. 

The state-owned energy utility had planned to import 50 MW each through the two power lines, but overloading of the substation at Raxaul means the Parwanipur-Raxaul line is not available currently.

“Indian authorities have informed us that their substation at Raxaul is overloaded in the evenings when electricity demand peaks in Nepal,” said Kulman Ghising, managing director of the NEA. “We had planned to import electricity only during peak hours. So, immediate imports are not possible through the transmission line.”   

However, Indian authorities are currently building another substation in nearby Motihari district in Bihar. It will be more than a month before it is completed, Ghising said. 

“I think we will be able to import electricity via the Parwanipur-Raxaul transmission line by the end of April,” he said. “But we will be importing 50 MW through the Kushaha-Kataiya line very soon.” 

The NEA has written to India’s state-owned NTPC Vidyut Vyapar Nigam (NVVN) to initiate the process of signing a power purchase agreement (PPA) for Nepal to import another 50 MW through the Kushaha-Kataiya transmission line. 

“Initially, there was confusion in India regarding who would operate the newly built transmission line,” said Ghising. “Now it has been decided that it will be operated by Bihar state, and we expect Indian authorities to call us for PPA negotiations very soon.”

The electricity being imported via the Dhalkebar-Muzaffarpur cross-border transmission line has been bought directly from NVVN, while the power that is planned to be imported through the Kushaha-Kataiya line will be bought from the Power Exchange Committee (PEC) of the Bihar Electricity Regulatory Commission (BERC), and it costs more.

PEC charges IRs5.62 and BERC charges IRs5.55 per unit of electricity. The energy being imported through the Dhalkebar-Muzaffarpur transmission line costs IRs3.60 per unit. NVVN will decide which of the two entities will be involved in power trading with Nepal via that line.

Although it will take some time before electricity starts flowing through the newly built transmission lines, Nepali households will not suffer any power cuts.

The extra electricity is intended to be supplied to power hungry industries located in the Morang-Sunsari and Bara-Parsa industrial corridors, according to the NEA.

Hydropower generation in the country has plunged by almost 60 percent as the water level in most rivers has fallen due to the dry season and the NEA is relying heavily on electricity imported from India to keep the Kathmandu Valley free from power cuts. 

In order to cover the shortage in supply, Nepal has been importing around 380 MW from India through various cross-border transmission lines.

The country’s peak electricity demand hovers at 1,240 MW. The NEA has been managing the deficit of 385 MW by cutting off power to energy intensive industries during peak hours. 

Published: 27-03-2017 10:08

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