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Frequent power outage has become a headache for students, teachers



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By Laxman Kafle
Kathmandu, Aug. 4: Bishalya Gautam, a civil engineering student, was fed up with power cut that lasted for six hours from 8 am on Sunday and Monday at his home in Kathmandu-32.
Not only did he miss the whole online classes for two days in a row, he was also unable to get water to wash even hands as there was no power to pump water.
His mother, a schoolteacher, failed to teach students online, and his father was unable to email an important document.
“We dialed ‘No Light’ but it was always busy. I was totally helpless. If the Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) continues to cut power without prior notice, we will be missing more classes, as our college is now only running online classes because of COVID-19,” Gautam said.
Similarly, Urmila Shakya, a permanent resident of Nagarjun Municipality-1, commented that the area has been repeatedly facing power outage for more than four to six hours at least two days a week.
When dialed the No Light section in Balaju, the official put their telephone number in engage or busy tone, she commented. “No exact information is conveyed to the customer when tried to know the reason behind the frequent power outage,” Shakya said.
Of course, many consumers in Kathmandu and elsewhere, including Panchkhal of Kavrepalanchok and Biratnagar of Morang have been facing similar problem over the weeks.
Unprepared to face the problem of surprise power cut, the denizens and students have expressed their dissatisfaction over the present leadership of NEA.
Gayatri Banjara of Panchkhal-7 of Kavrepalanchok district said that they faced power outage problem thrice a day, affecting online classes of her children.
“Electricity is mainly cut in the morning and evening for more than an hour,” she said.
Suresh Man Shrestha, president of Nepal Chamber of Commerce, Province-1, said that the businessmen and locals of Biratnagar had been facing the problem of frequent power cut.
“We are unable to operate factories and industries smoothly due to power outage without notice. When we informed the distribution centre about the problem, they said us that maintenance activities and storms have caused power disturbance,” he said.
NEA claimed that there was no unofficial power outage inside and outside the Kathmandu Valley, but due to technical problem like maintenance to manage load capacity after the consumers started using their electronic appliances, the power gets cut.
Electricity is cut off while shifting of electricity poles, replacing transformers and due to maintenance and distribution to new consumers, said NEA spokesperson Madan Timalsina.
There is also problem in individual’s home which has low ampere metres but uses high voltage electric appliances, he added.
“This does not mean that the NEA has power supply problem, but this is happening due to problem in the places where the old transformers and feeders could not sustain the growing load demand,” he said.
He said that concerned distribution centres had been cutting power issuing prior notice and that road expansion drive, electric pole relocation and underground wiring works had also led to frequent power outage.
Last week, there was a problem in power supply for a long time in Baneshwor and Patan areas due to the strengthening of the transmission line there, he said.
“It is not true that the power is cut due to insufficient power. We have sufficient power to meet the demand. The demand of power has reached 1,400 MW daily,” he said.
Additional 300 MW power generated from four units of Upper Tamakoshi Hydropower Projected has been connected to the national grid.
The consumption of power has increased this time compared to same period last year, from 24.2 million units a day to 30 million units.
The demand of power inside the Kathmandu Valley has reached 295 MW in peak time on Sunday while it was limited to 240 MW last year.
The NEA has been importing around 100-200 MW electricity from India based on the demand during the peak time at present, he said.