Nepal urges India to Renew Electricity Trade Agreement

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Nepal urges India to Renew Electricity Trade Agreement

 March 27: Energy secretaries of Nepal and India held discussions on Tuesday after India hinted that it will not export electricity to Nepal from next week. The conversation between the energy secretaries of the two countries was held at a time when India showed reluctance to renew the agreement to allow Nepal to purchase electricity from its electricity trading market (Indian Energy Exchange).

According to Navin Singh, the spokesperson for the Ministry of Energy, Energy Secretary Gopal Sigdel has urged his Indian counterpart Pankaj Agarwal not to stop the export of electricity. Singh said that the Indian Energy Secretary informed that they could not take a decision this issue due to their busy schedule for the upcoming Lok Sabha election.

Agarwal reportedly told Sigdel that they were discussing the prospects of providing electricity from solar and other sources.

An official of the Nepal Electricity Authority said that the source of energy does not matter when the electricity is purchased from the Indian market on the basis of competition. "India’s assurance that it can provide electricity from various sources implies that India will not provide electricity from the Indian Energy Exchange," he said.

Apart from the Indian Energy Exchange, electricity is imported and exported between the two countries through government-to-government agreements. However, for the past few years, Nepal has been purchasing electricity from the exchange market at a competitive rate.

Spokesperson Singh however says that the Indian side has not ruled out providing electricity from the energy exchange market. But if India does not renew the agreement, there is a possibility of load shedding in Nepal from next week, according to Nepal Electricity Authority officials.

According to the NEA, this agreement should be renewed every year. The current contract expires on March 31.  NEA officials said although they have been requesting India to renew the contract since three months, the concerned bodies of India have not shown any interest in it.

According to the official, it will be challenging for the NEA to manage electricity for the next one and a half months as Nepal's domestic electricity production will not increase until mid-May.

The NEA  imports about 600 MW of electricity from India in winter. This is about one third of the demand. According to the authority, the peak hour demand has now reached 1,885 MW.

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