September 13: The controversy over the arrears of electricity tariff of 'dedicated feeder' and 'trunk line', which has been pending for a long time, has become more complicated as the prime minister's verbal instructions have outwitted policy decisions.
The Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) had issued a 15-day notice to industries on September 3 to clear the arrears of electricity taken from the dedicated feeder and trunk line within the prescribed date. The NEA also warned that the line will be disconnected if the dues were not paid. However, the industrialists went to Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal seeking his intervention. After the meeting with the industrialists, Prime Minister Dahal instructed the authority on Monday not to stop power supply to the industries until this issue is resolved. The PM said that studies are being conducted to resolve the problem of dedicated feeder and trunk line tariffs.
Prime Minister Dahal telephoned the managing director of the NEA, Kulman Ghising, and gave this instruction, but the prime minister's office has not formally written to the NEA in this regard.
At this point, the authority has come to a conclusion that the prime minister's verbal instructions should be taken into consideration rather than policy decisions.
Manoj Silwal, deputy executive director of the NEA, said that it would have been easier to take a decision on this matter if the PM had given a written instruction.
“It is not that we will not implement the verbal instruction of the prime minister, but it has caused us a problem in making a decision. It would have been easier for the authority to make a decision if there had been a written instruction," he told New Business Age.
According to the NEA, 67 industries have not paid the fee for using electricity through dedicated feeder and trunk line during the time of load shedding. The authority says that after adding interest and penalty to the initial arrears, the outstanding amount has reached Rs 20 billion.
The Ministry of Energy has written a letter to the authority seeking information on the status of action against the industrialists who have not paid their dues.
The NEA is preparing to reply to the ministry stating that the action cannot be proceeded forward due to the instruction of the prime minister.
The 15-day deadline given by the authority to the industries will end next Tuesday. Due to the verbal instructions given by the prime minister, the NEA is having problem in taking a proper decision with just a few days left for the deadline to end.