Kafle learnt the trick from his predecessors when the nexus evolved in 2006 while Arjun Karki was NEA chief and Sher Singh Bhat headed the Load Dispatch Centre.
Karki and Singh forced Nepalis to bear up to 17 hours of power outage daily in winter, while supplying 24-hour power to influential business groups. In January 2013, the NEA Board of Directors ordered that dedicated feeders be disconnected. But that decision was reversed when Rameswor Yadav became the NEA’s new MD.
That year, a probe panel led by Shyam Sundar Shrestha, Deputy Director General of Electricity Development Department, concluded that the NEA was ‘arbitrarily’ supplying uninterrupted electricity to industrial plants operated by powerful businesses. The panel recommended further investigation and action against the guilty.
After Kafle became MD, he brushed that report under the carpet, blaming undersupply. Only after Ghising replaced Kafle did the NEA cut the dedicated feeders to industrial plants, and made sure electricity was distributed evenly.
Ghising also imported more electricity from India to fill the gap caused by the increase in suppressed demand. But NEA spokesperson Prabal Adhikari says cutting off dedicated feeders to industries and importing more electricity from India were not the only factors leading to an end to power cuts.
“We have also cut leakage. People don’t use inverters to store power in batteries, and this also reduced demand,” he explains.
Apart from industrialists and NEA officials, the other sector that benefited from power cuts were solar and diesel generator traders. In 2015, Nepal imported diesel generators worth Rs3.26 billion and solar panels worth Rs2.1 billion. This fiscal year, the country imported only Rs 2.1 billion worth of diesel generator and Rs290 million in solar panels.