Community Based Rural Electrification Program in Nepal
Electricity is an absolute necessity of development. The country’s first hydroelectric power plant, popularly known as the Pharping Power House (500 KW) started generating electricity in August 1911 A.D. The ensuing pace of generating electricity has been slow – the next plant Sundarijal (600 KW) came on-line only in 1934 and by 2010 only 680 MW or so had been developed. Almost 60 percent of Nepalese do not have access to electricity. In rural areas, the figure could be in the order of a staggering 90 percent. Thus as a milestone, the Community Electrification Distribution Bylaws, 2060, was approved by NEA board in May 2002. This offered an opportunity for individual entrepreneurs and community user groups to buy electricity in bulk from the NEA and manage the distribution service as a community entity. Community Electrification Distribution bylaw’s first goal was to promote people’s participation in rural electrification, distribution and management in an organized way. Secondly, it ensured that 80 percent investment is contributed by GoN and only 20 percent by the consumers. This inspired many entrepreneurs and community groups to work along the lines of community electrification and provide a better life in which economic activity attains momentum by self managing and distributing the electricity for their benefit. This bylaw was subsequently amended in 2008, and now GoN invests 90 percent of the project cost and the community/consumers needs to invest only 10 percent.
Till date 5,00,000 households have been electrified under this program and 150,000 Hhs more will be electrified after the completion of pipeline projects.