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  Private sector accuses NEA of overcharging industrial enterprises

Three professional bodies of private sector have criticized the Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) for billing industries for electricity that they did not consume.

The Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FNCCI), the Confederation of Nepalese Industries (CNI), and Nepal Chamber of Commerce (NCC) jointly organized a press conference on Tuesday after their separate pleas to the NEA went unheard, they said.

Representatives of the Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FNCCI), the Confederation of Nepalese Industries (CNI), and Nepal Chamber of Commerce (NCC) are seen at a joint press conference in Kathmandu on Tuesday.

The three professional bodies had been separately requesting the NEA to relieve industrial consumers of the cost of energy supplied through dedicated and trunk lines, arguing that having a dedicated connection doesn’t mean that industries have consumed electricity supplied through the line.

NEA has issued accumulated bills of the past three years to as many as 250 companies and enterprises, claiming that they consumed power supplied through the dedicated and trunk lines, according to FNCCI.

All these enterprises have dedicated and trunk lines which allow them to enjoy continuous power supply for a minimum of 20 hours.

These enterprises have not applied to the NEA for such service, representatives of the three bodies claimed at the press meet.

“Trunk lines are connected to each enterprise. But most of them neither used the facility, nor completed the prescribed procedure to get such facility from the NEA. None of these applications have been approved by the board of directors of the NEA,” claimed Pashupati Murarka, a former president of FNCCI.

The tariff of electricity supplied through dedicated and trunk lines are 65 percent higher than the normal price that industrial consumers pay.

Some industrial enterprises are getting electricity from the NEA through dedicated or trunk lines after completing the prescribed process. But NEA sent bills to even the consumers that have not applied for the facility, the professional bodies have claimed.

NEA officials, however, say that these enterprises enjoyed continuous electricity supply before mid-May last year, which the country was facing power shortage, and also thereafter.

According to the professional bodies, steel rolling mills and cement factories, whose energy consumption is high, are affected the most from the NEA’s decision. Some industrialists say they were shocked to get such a high electricity bill.

“Industries did not include the cost in their unit products which have already been sold. They will have to face huge loss if the decision is not reviewed,” reads a joint statement issued by the three bodies.

FNCCI President Bhawani Rana, NCC’s Rajendra Malla, CNI’s Satish Kumar More had addressed the press meet. They said in unison that the NEA issued bills to all enterprises without looking whether they were using dedicated lines.

About a dozen such enterprises have moved different courts, challenging the decision. They have even managed to get stay order from the courts.

NEA’s Managing Director Kulman Ghising said that NEA issued bills to enterprises for energy consumed through dedicated lines during load-shedding. “We charged them for energy supplied through trunk lines as per the law,” he said, adding, “We have also been matching day meters of the enterprises and their electricity bills.”

Interestingly, these three bodies rarely come together. They had came together at the time of constitution-drafting four years ago to lobby for avoiding multiple taxes in three tiers of governments and for free flow of goods, money and labor across provinces, among others.

[May 8, 2019 / myrepublica.nagariknetwork.com]   
 
 
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