The Kathmandu Valley is suffering from sudden power cuts in the past week following a sharp rise in demand.
Managing Director of Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) Kulman Ghising, who has optimized the distribution system to ensure uninterrupted power supply in recent years, attributed the problem to the gap between demand and supply.
“Demand of electricity has increased suddenly. The peak demand in Kathmandu Valley this time last year was 320 MW. It has now risen to 400 MW,” Ghising told Setopati. “There is a drop in temperature and people use heaters and air conditioners, but our distribution system has not improved. Transformers explode due to overload and the power supply is cut abruptly,” he explained.
There are problems even in the feeder lines at times due to overload. “The transformer inside the Singha Durbar exploded the day before yesterday. There are more problems in Maharajgunj area as well,” he revealed.
He said there is problem of overload in the 66 KV transmission line going to Baneshwore from Patan, and the areas that receive connection from this transmission line, therefore, are suffering more problems.
Not just the transformers and feeder lines but even sub-stations are suffering from overload due to the rise in demand.
He said the problem of sudden power cuts has also been exacerbated due to problems in transmission lines bringing electricity from outside the Valley. “There are problems in the transmission line from Mrasyangdi at times and they cut trees along the transmission line from Dhalkebar at other times,” he pointed. “Problems in trunk line obviously affect Kathmandu. But the main problem is the infrastructure inside the Valley.”
The NEA is immediately replacing 500 transformers inside the Valley to alleviate the problem. “We are also changing some feeder lines for now but it is not a long-term solution. We must build a distribution system for 2000 MW inside the Valley for the long-term solution,” he explained.
The current distribution system inside the Valley handles 500 MW.
“We must keep 132 KV and 232 KV transmission lines for that. There is no alternative to building underground transmission lines.”