July 26: Minister for Energy, Water Resources and Irrigation Pampha Bhusal has directed the Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) to collect long-pending electricity tariff for the use of dedicated feeders.
According to the national news agency (RSS), over Rs 15 billion remains to be collected from the industrialists for the use of dedicated feeders in the past when the country was facing long hours of load shedding.
At a programme organized at NEA office on Sunday (July 25), Minister Bhusal demanded a clear explanation on why the responsible employees of the NEA could not claim the dues of the dedicated feeders and trunk line and why the electricity tariff collection process could not make any progress.
The government has already decided to entrust Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) to collect electricity tariff of the dedicated feeders and trunk line despite objections from several quarters.
A total of 309 industrialists and entrepreneurs had availed supply of electricity through dedicated feeder and trunk line during the height of power outage in the country during 2014 to 2018.
The ministry had already assigned the NEA to form a research committee to study electricity tariff issues and to collect all the dues. Even the high court has paved way for the NEA to collect the tariff.
However, the industrialists have been refusing to clear the dues, arguing why they should pay for the tariff when they have not used the electricity at all.
There is a long dispute between industrialists and the NEA over the settlement of dues for using electricity from dedicated feeders and trunk lines.
Earlier on July 21, the Parliamentary Affairs Committee (PAC) had formed a sub-committee led by lawmaker Minendra Rijal to look into the issue of dedicated electricity tariff. Based on the report, the PAC, on April 4, instructed the government to collect all dues within a month. There was a total of Rs 10.14 billion outstanding dues that industrialists owe to the NEA.
NEA had supplied electricity to industries through dedicated feeder and trunk lines by charging a premium of 65 percent in the electricity tariffs. The NEA, which did not have authority to fix tariff, had got approval of its tariff rates from the then Electricity Tariff Fixation Commission in February 2016.
Industrialists are at odds with the NEA over the tariffs that NEA has fixed prior to the approval from the Commission.
Some industrialists even claim that the NEA has billed them for the electricity that their industries did not use during the load shedding.