Quake-hit villages to get solar lights

- SANJEEV GIRI, Kathmandu
Quake-hit villages to get solar lights

May 11, 2015-

The Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) is preparing to install solar lights in remote districts where electricity supply has been disrupted due to the April 25 earthquake.

According to the state-owned power utility, it has been conducting discussions with the Asian Development Bank (ADB) to supply temporary power to households affected by the tremor.

“Our distribution mechanism has been severely damaged, especially in remote areas. Hence, we are working to electrify these places as we think solar power can only be a temporary relief,” said Mukesh Raj Kafle, managing director of the NEA.

According to him, the NEA has also mobilised a team to assess and identify locations where solar lighting should be installed.

He added that the distribution mechanism, especially in the mountainous and hilly areas, had been devastated by the Great Quake.

“Most of the electricity poles are in an unusable condition,” Kafle said, adding that there was a need to assess human settlements and build infrastructure in line with the government’s settlement plan.

ADB Country Director Kenichi Yokoyama said that the NEA’s plan was positive and that they were waiting for a concrete proposal.

The NEA has requested the ADB to help it procure solar batteries and lighting systems. “As the grants allocated to us for other projects have not been utilized, they could be used for the electrification of rural areas.”

“We have received a proposal from the NEA to use unutilized funds amounting to $500,000 in the solar project,” Yokoyama said. He added that the ADB was willing to support the NEA if it receives a convincing proposal along with an effective distribution plan.

The money is be enough to buy around 9,000 units of solar lights. The NEA has proposed buying 6,000 solar units.  

NEA’s quake losses in the billions

The Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) on Monday said it had suffered losses amounting to billions of rupees due to the April 25 earthquake. The state-owned power utility, which has long been in the red, said it could not give a figure, but that its distribution channels had been hit hard by the tremor.

“As a simple equipment costs Rs50 million, it is difficult to find out the actual losses now. All we can say is that we have incurred losses amounting to billions,” Kafle said. Apart from the immediate financial losses, the NEA will have to face further problem as the development of three major hydropower projects, namely the 21 MW Trishuli 3A, 14 MW Devighat and 10 MW Sunkoshi, has been halted.

“Apart from running out of time, the costs too will rise,” Kafle said, adding that the construction work had been suspended for the time being and further action would be taken once a post-disaster assessment is completed. According to Kafle, the construction of these projects will be delayed by at least three-four months. (PR)

Published: 12-05-2015 09:40

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