Kathmandu, January 8
Sale of diesel and cooking gas has decelerated lately, indicating industries and households are using more electricity to produce goods and services and cook food.
The sale growth of diesel has slowed down in the last three fiscals — from 24.4 per cent in the first four months of 2017-18 to 9.5 per cent in the same period of fiscal 2018-19. The growth further slumped to 1.9 per cent in the first four months of this fiscal.
A major reason for this deceleration is regular supply of electricity by Nepal Electricity Authority. Since the state-owned power utility formally declared the nation load-shedding free on 12 May 2018, more and more industries have stopped using diesel-powered generators to run their factories.
“We have cut down the use of diesel at our cement factory by more than 50 per cent since the end of load-shedding,” said Pashupati Murarka, former president of the Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industry, and one of the owners of Arghakhachi Cement. The factory also does not keep ‘much diesel in store as electricity supply has become normal’.
However, factories connected to the national grid without a dedicated feeder or trunk line have been facing frequent power tripping.
Malls, one of the biggest consumers of diesel when power cuts were normal, have also reduced consumption of fossil fuel.
“Our mall is now totally dependent on electricity supplied by NEA. We only use generators when the power supply fluctuates, which is quite rare these days,” said Deepeksha Rana, general manager of Labim Mall.
Moreover, households are also turning towards energy supplied by NEA to cook food, as evidenced by the drop of sales growth of liquefied petroleum gas to 10.8 per cent in the first four months of this fiscal.
Sales growth of LPG hovered around 12 per cent in the same period a year ago and 28 per cent in the same period a year before that.
However, power supply has become less reliable since the winter season set in because the distribution network of NEA is not robust enough.