Thursday, December 25, 2008

The Dark Ages

The government has declared a nation-wide power crisis and announced an increase in the load-shedding hours to 12-14 hours a day, starting Sunday 28th December. Electricity usage in hoarding boards has also been banned.

We already have load shedding for 10 hours daily six days a week. So this is not a new development. But, as someone who only has a layman's knowledge of electricity generation, I just wish the government would also clearly spell out WHY the load-shedding hours are constantly increasing. It is not enough for Ministers to proclaim a "national crisis" without letting the people know exactly what is causing this crisis, how long is it going to last, and what steps (besides the hoarding boards mentioned above) are being taken to economise on electricity usage. This information is the right of the people.

If this truly is a national crisis, it certainly does not affect the roughly 35% of the population which has never had access to electricity. Those of us who have access, I presume, need to do our individual share in conserving electricity. Common-sense steps such as wearing more clothes rather than using heaters; using lights only in the room which one occupies, shutting off all other lights - a good torchlight is enough to do this switching-on/switching-off operation; watching television sparingly; etc.

Any takers?


Anonymous said...

Lord Pasupatinath has blessed us with an abundant supply of perennial Himalayan water which we have been unable to harness and manage. Our forefathers managed water resources so well that not one drop of water did flow out of the country without having benefited the Nepalese people. All the temples, durbars, water and sanitation systems were not built with foreign assistance. Even at this juncture, in my humble opinion, there is no reason why we Nepalese cannot manage our water resources?
Coming to the issue raised on the generation of electricity, there is a lot of talk and no one is willing to walk the talk. The King of Bhutan is laughing all the way to the bank with his Chukka and Tala hydro-electricity projects. And, Nepal has at least 20 times the potential for mining the "white gold".
Why is the Government not freely giving the private interested parties licenses to generate electricity BUT with a strict time table?
Without the necessary funding the three licenses given to GMR (Upper Karnali), Sutlej Jal Vidyut Nigam Limited (Arun III) and SMEC (Seti)are being stalled in implementation. The funding required is no mean amount and a consoritum needs to be formed to finance the hydro-electricity projects in Nepal?
Meanwhile, how do we solve this present shortage? Power is being traded like any other commodity. Why cannot transmission lines be quickly built to import electricity? These same lines can be used to export electricity once Nepal becomes self-sufficient.
These are just some thoughts.

Govind said...

Nepalese have a knack for acting in the 11th hour.And the plans are mostly adhoc and knee jerk reactions.Diesel plants are no answer to the Nations power crisis.
As sure as night follows day this power crisis was in the coming. There is no new power projects as yet so I can say with confidence we will be in the dark for at least another 5 years if not more.
I think wind and solar powers is the answer to Nepal`s power crisis.Wind power in the hills and solar power in the Terai for domestic purposes and hydropower for the industries.

HORATIO said...

Great suggestions in both comments above.

All I can say is that did I not have to use the internet or do the occasional bed-time reading, I would just not switch on electricity in my place, get some nice candles and forget that this is the 21st century.

Abhaya said...

Without presuming to have in-depth knowledge of Nepal's power generation sector or the bureaucracy with said concern, it seems to me that the ironic and increasing power shortage Nepal faces is largely a result of the corruption that has plagued the power sector over the decades. If the new government does not resort to the same blatant and allegedly large scale corruption, perhaps it can show its mettle by taking swift action to lift the country out of the power crisis as soon as practicably, possible through measures such as those proposed in the comments above.

I do not believe though, due to their relative technological inefficiencies, that wind and solar power will be able to build a noticeable bridge over Nepal's power gap. Nuclear energy is probably too expensive and its knowhow currently beyond our reach. So, effective harnessing of hydro power, the potential for which is abundant as we all know, continues to hold the key.

In the mean time, I laud those who do their part, in their daily activities, to conserve what little energy the country currently generates.

banu said...

let us not get bogged down by what we can produce, in terms of electricity... the problem is NOW, Today... what are we going to do to make OUR lives better/easier. My power back up died out on me.. I was without power for almost 2 hrs...I felt like a fish out of water... can you imagine how min. of 90% (my census) is managing without power???? The koshi disaster happened 4 months ago... the powers that be knew of impending power shortages in the winter months... they CHOSE to keep quiet... more busy deciding which post goes to which party...They could have kicked off a nationwide campaign to make people change their incandescent bulbs to the cfl ones..Talk about jagaran prog. by all politicos... this could have been one huge honest to goodness jagaran...
The taransmission lines which were swept away... could not the govt. make use of the thousands of army personnel in the barracks, to work to set it up again and then we could have imported power from India like in the past winter months... what are these personnels for anyway?? ornament?? peace keeping in distant lands??? They are paid by us, the few who pay taxes anyway... I feel they ought to have been put to work... donot get me wrong.. they are doing what they can under the circumstances.. building roads.etc.. nothing is late... we could still do something .
Thermal power plants... fix the ones we already have... then talk about building new ones.... someone in the CA said something in last night news... this govt is making us laugh but let not the outside world laugh too..( paraphrasing..something to that tune...)it is so sad.. this beautiful country of ours, bogged down by sheer insensitivity of our govt...and we the people, quiet.....