Nepal backs EVs to boost hydro-electricity uptake
Nepalis with battery-operated vehicles can now install a separate household meter to charge their vehicles as part of a drive by the state-owned utility to boost consumption of surplus hydro-electricity from the country’s new plants.
Electric vehicle (EV) owners can also opt for a larger capacity meter if the approved load for domestic use is insufficient, and the regulator is also increasing the load limit for industries, and offering additional meters for tenants on multi-storey apartments.
A Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) board of directors meeting last week decided on a slew of measures to increase consumption of electricity. Nepal is now generating 500MW more than domestic demand, and this surplus is expected to grow during the monsoon.
However, due to an imbalance in distribution the country has to import power from India for certain areas of the country, while it sells electricity to India from other parts.
“We must increase the consumption of domestically produced electricity at home to reduce spillover and wastage. That is why we are taking steps to make sure Nepalis have better access to reliable and quality power,” says Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) chief Kulman Ghising.
With the increase in popularity of electric vehicles NEA is encouraging private companies to set up charging stations in parking lots and open spaces with the new electric meter offer. Local governments will work with the NEA to facilitate the necessary paperwork.
Despite a pledge to be fully electric in its transportation sector by 2031, Nepal had yet to take a significant step or invest accordingly, even though last year it re-introduced a tax rebate for battery-powered vehicles.
After complaints that house-owners were overcharging tenants for power consumption, NEA has warned landlords that their mains will be cut if they do so. Further, it is now allowing tenants to set up their own electric meters. Those living in apartment blocks, multi-storey residential buildings and housing colonies will also be allowed to have their own meters.
“Occupants of apartments can get electricity directly from the NEA with a separate meter, that way the tariff will be cheaper and the consumption will also increase,” explains Ghising, adding that factories within the same industrial complex will also be allowed separate meters.
The new regulation has also streamlined the mechanism for consumers to settle their electricity bills. They can pay in installments, through mobile apps and even customers who have been blacklisted because of their dues can arrange to pay it back in up to 12 instalments.
The NEA is also providing power feeds to refrigerated storage for dairy products, cooperatives-run cold storages and drinking water and irrigation projects operated by the government or communities.
The new regulation has also increased the load limit for companies from 50kV to 100kV for which the NEA will supply power via its transformers. If the companies pass the mark, they need to buy the transformer themselves.