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Power & Energy - September 13, 2023

Electricity import from Nepal uncertain

BD, India and Nepal tripartite deal not yet signed

Zarif Mahmud: Bangladesh wants to import 40 MW electricity from Nepal using India’s national grid. An agreement has been signed with Nepal for this purpose. However, the tariff or price of this electricity has not been determined as yet. To import this electricity, a tripartite agreement should be made between Bangladesh, India and Nepal. That deal is not done yet. In this situation, there is an apprehension about when it will be possible to import electricity from Nepal.
Power Ministry officials say that even if everything goes well, it will take at least another six months to complete the process of importing electricity from Nepal.
An agreement was signed between Bangladesh and Nepal last May regarding the import of electricity. According to the agreement, a total of 40 MW electricity is to come to Bangladesh, including 24 MW from Nepal’s Trishuli project and 16 MW from another power plant. This electricity will come to the national grid in Bheramara, Bangladesh through Baharampur transmission line in India. The duration of this power import agreement is five years, but Nepal has proposed a 25-year agreement.
The cabinet committee on ‘power sector development and import’ held a meeting on September 10 with the aim of importing electricity from Nepal. From the meeting held under the chairmanship of Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal, it was asked to finalize the price of electricity per unit and send it from the Ministry of Power to the Ministry of Finance.
After giving such instructions from the meeting of the cabinet committee regarding development and import of the power sector, the officials of the power ministry held a meeting. According to sources in the Ministry of Power, a report will be prepared and presented to the Prime Minister in view of the discussion of the meeting.
According to the source, several activities have to be completed in this regard, including tariff determination. Since India has to import electricity from Nepal using the national grid, a tripartite agreement has to be signed between the three countries. The contract is being negotiated.
In the meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Power Sector Development and Import held on Sunday, Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal asked about the tariff of electricity import from Nepal. State Minister for Power Nasrul Hamid said that the price of electricity imported from Nepal will be lower than the price of coal-based electricity in the country.
A responsible person presents in the meeting said that several issues were presented in the meeting. For example, it has been reported that Nepal is interested in taking electricity from us in winter. In winter, the demand for electricity in Nepal is high, while in Bangladesh, the demand is low. For this reason, the matter is seen as positive. Apart from this, the issue of consent of the government of India due to the use of India’s national grid was also discussed.
He said that the electricity imported from Nepal will come to Bangladesh using India’s national grid. For this, Bangladesh has sent a letter seeking the consent of the Indian government. It has been informed by the Ministry of Power that consent has been given from India. Besides, it was also informed in the meeting that Nepal Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal signed an agreement in this regard during a bilateral meeting with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his visit to India last June.
He also said that at one stage of the meeting, the finance minister wanted to know the tariff of imported electricity. In terms of this the possible tariff is mentioned. After that, the finance minister asked to finalize the tariff and submit the proposal quickly. Now the power department will prepare and submit a report to the Prime Minister on the overall issues including the price of imported electricity, usage charges of the Indian national grid, import duty.
According to a recent report in Kathmandu Post, there is a delay in the export of electricity from Nepal to Bangladesh. Because the country is yet to finalize the trilateral agreement with India and the issue of tariff determination between Bangladesh and Nepal.
An official of the Ministry of Power saidDaily Industry that importing electricity from Nepal is time-consuming. National elections ahead. No one can say for sure where the political situation will go. The political situation may also affect India’s use of the national grid to bring power from Nepal.
An official of the Ministry of Finance said that the government wants to import electricity from Nepal quickly. The Finance Minister has asked to fix the tariff and send the proposal soon. The sooner the power ministry sends the proposal, the faster the process will proceed. However, it does not seem that it will be possible to import this electricity immediately.
On Monday (September 11) in the afternoon, the senior secretary Habibur Rahman of the electricity department said, “There was a meeting at the Ministry of Finance. We will now send a proposal to the Prime Minister along with the decision of the meeting.
When can this electricity be available? When asked such a question, he said, ‘It is difficult to say. Because there are many other processes. After coming from the Prime Minister, it will go to the Economic Affairs Committee again. In this gap, tariff negotiations should be done with them. Many processes. Again, a tripartite agreement should be made. A very long process, which will take at least six more months. It will never happen before.

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