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Parts of East Nepal crippled by floods

- BIBEK SUBEDI, Kathmandu

Aug 14, 2017-Massive flooding and landslides triggered by a continuous downpour since Thursday have knocked out power to many parts of east Nepal and crippled normal life.

More than half a dozen districts across the Koshi River have been without electricity since Saturday morning after floodwaters damaged transmission lines, substations and other infrastructure.

Currently, Jhapa, Morang, Sunsari, Ilam, Bhojpur, Dhankuta, Panchthar and other districts have no electricity. 

Senior journalist Dharma Gautam reported from Ilam that the district had been without power since Saturday morning. “We have been witnessing incessant rain for the past few days,” said Gautam.

“Many people were using backup power from their inverters until Saturday evening. Since they have not been able to recharge the equipment, we are now living in complete darkness.”

The supply system suffered a major damage after heavy rains flooded the Nepal Electricity Authority’s (NEA) 132 kV substation at Duhabi which is the hub of the electricity distribution system in the Eastern Region. 

According to the state-owned power utility, the water inside the substation that houses equipment like transformers and circuit breakers is 2 feet deep. As a result, 76 MW of electricity generated by nine hydropower projects owned by the NEA and independent power producers is not being fed into the supply system. 

Privately owned 3 MW Piluwa Khola Small, 1 MW Lower Piluwa Small, 4.5 MW Hewa Khola, 22 MW Mai Khola, 7 MW Mai Cascade, 10 MW Upper Mai Khola, 15 MW Hewa Khola A and 7.5 MW Jogmai Khola and NEA-owned 6 MW Puwa Khola are currently off the grid. 

Similarly, the NEA has not been able to import electricity through the Kataiya-Kushwaha cross-border transmission line.

The NEA has not been able to say when power will be restored. Dipak Dhital, deputy manager at the NEA’s Load Dispatch Centre, said power can be restored only after flood waters recede from the substation.

“Currently, we are not in a position to say when the problems will be fixed as restoration work will largely depend on weather conditions,” said Dhital. 

Power has been knocked out to parts of the region west of the Koshi River as feeders and transformers have been damaged by the floods. “Some parts of Siraha and Saptari are also facing power cuts,” said Dhital.

“However, the problem is not very severe, and we expect our technicians to restore power soon.”

The NEA restored electricity supply through the Khimti-Dhalkebar and Hetauda-Chapur-Dhalkebar transmission lines on Saturday evening after it was cut off when large trees fell on the power cables following floods on Friday. 

Published: 14-08-2017 08:56

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