18 in race for key posts in Electricity Regulatory Commission

- BIBEK SUBEDI, Kathmandu

Dec 9, 2018-

Eighteen individuals, including two former energy secretaries, are vying for the top posts in the Nepal Electricity Regulatory Commission, a powerful body to regulate the country’s energy sector.

Five applicants including two former energy secretaries—Anup Kumar Upadhyay and Shree Ranjan Lakaul have submitted their proposals for the position of the chair to a committee headed by Irrigation Secretary Sanjay Sharma. The committee was formed by Energy Minister Barsha Man Pun more than a month ago.

Likewise, 13 other individuals including former and current government officials and experts of the energy sector have applied to become members of the Nepal Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), according to multiple sources at the Ministry of Energy Water Resources and Irrigation.

The committee led by Sharma will submit their recommendation to the government for the appointment of a chairman and four members including a woman after evaluating the proposals of the applicants within 21 days. The Cabinet meeting will then name the chairman and the members of the NERC.

Subsequently, the panel will appoint other staff to give full shape to the commission, according to the ministry. Sources at the ministry said Pun has made up his mind to appoint former energy secretary Upadhyay as the chair of the NERC. “It is almost decided that Upadhyay will be appointed as the chair of the commission,” said a reliable source at the ministry seeking anonymity. Upadhayay resigned from the position of Energy Secretary on Wednesday so that he could apply for the position of the chair.

The ministry initiated the process to set up a commission to regulate the energy sector, more than a year after an act was passed for its establishment by forming the committee to hire a chair and members for the NERC.

The NERC will supersede the existing Electricity Tariff Fixation Commission and set the charges that customers will have to pay to the Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA), the state-owned power utility. The commission will fix the electricity tariff after holding a public hearing.

The commission will also establish a code that various entities under its jurisdiction will have to follow.

The code will specify standards for the construction of hydropower plants, transmission lines and distribution networks. It will also determine the voltage that will be supplied to customers by the utility.

The commission will also have a full mandate to determine the power purchase rate for the state-owned power utility. At present, the NEA is the sole buyer of electricity in Nepal, and it has been fixing the rate for the purchase of electricity from hydropower projects. Also, the power utility has to obtain the commission’s approval to sign power purchase agreements with project developers.

Published: 09-12-2018 07:59

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