Kathmandu, Nepal. Sometimes while cooking food, sometimes wearing iron on clothes – many people are experiencing this nowadays. Now it’s mid-monsoon. Rivers have all increased.
This is also the time for production to reach its peak in Nepal, which is heavily dependent on water-based electricity in rivers.
And then why are the lights going off from time to time at this time?
Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) responds to a technical glitch during the rainy season.
NEA spokesperson and Director of the Department of System Operations Suresh Bahadur Bhattarai has linked the current trend of electricity loss to the complexities caused by the rainy season.
“The network of transmission lines across our country has spread through many forests. When electricity from power stations from east to west is transmitted, there is a forest area somewhere,” he said, explaining the reason.
“During the rainy season, in some parts of the forest, the ground gets wet with water and weakens. After that, the surrounding trees will be slightly broken and the wire touched, or the wind will touch the branch. Due to such a situation, electricity transmission is now disrupted across the country. ”
He said that the ‘earth fault’ caused by the obstruction in the natural transmission of electricity and the external elements touching the transmission line are causing problems from time to time.
“Due to this, whether in Kathmandu or other parts of the country, there is a problem in the smooth flow of electricity,” Bhattarai said.
Apart from these, there may have been accidents like local fire, pole shifting, malfunction in transformer or regular maintenance.
Challenges of poor infrastructure
Experts say that the root cause of such complications in the system is the existing problems in infrastructure and engineering.
According to Former Chief Executive Director of NEA, Hitendra Dev Shakya, such disturbances continue to occur due to lack of development in infrastructure to match the massive changes in production and consumption.
“During the rainy season, the problem of soil erosion or plant collapse is not new. But nowadays, why is it increasing is that there is an overload on the infrastructure of our transmission line and medium voltage,” Shakya said.
“We are now consuming 43,000-44,000 megawatt hours of energy per day, but our infrastructure is developing very slowly. Therefore, there has been a lot of pressure on infrastructure for the last four-five years,” Shakya said.
In such a situation, when a small problem arises, it affects other lines, he said.
“And again, engineering safety systems, including switching gear, need to be updated in those infrastructures,” he said.
What’s the solution?
Shakya said that this would require infrastructure improvement and upgradation of engineering technology.
Talking about infrastructure development, the hassle of acquiring land for the construction of transmission lines and the tendency of people not allowing them to build them on their land has become a challenge, he said.
And since various systems of control and security are also being used, it is necessary to pay attention to the development of technology, he says.
There seems to be a lot of delay in the construction of infrastructure, especially transmission lines.
“For example, the 400 kv line from Hetauda to Inaruwa is yet to be built. Similarly, the 220 kV line from Hetauda to Bardaghat should have been charged 10-12 years ago. However, there have been delays due to various reasons such as forest issues, disputes over private land use and court cases,” bhattarai said.
He said that everyone should cooperate with the AUTHORITY in resolving such issues. “Such problems will be resolved only if large transmission lines of 400 kV and tower structures higher than trees can be constructed,” Bhattarai said.
Experts warn that if these issues are not addressed, the problem will increase in the coming years.
What is the state of production?
According to Bhattarai, the total generation capacity in Nepal is around 2,800 MW. Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) contributes around 500 MW and the rest is contributed by independent power producers, he said.
He said that the high demand now is more than 2,000 MW. On average, the demand is less than that. India can export up to 452 MW of electricity.
On the one hand, production is more than consumption and on the other hand due to lack of networks with transmission lines, especially in the rainy season, a large amount of electricity is wasted.