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Friday, December 19, 2008

A State 'in' Emergency

"Time is running out...!

Soon everything will shut down...!



Beep..........Beep...........Beep.......! Dudh.

That is the story of many Nepalese sitting in front of a computer."

Its imminent that every winter we are faced with a grave problem - Load shedding, a term that has been synonymous to the Nepali life. Its amazing, just when I had planned to write and article for my ever so forgotten blog, the power cut went from 7 hours a day to 10 hours to 12 hours per day. I'm not even sure if I'll have power till I finish this article. Oh, why couldn't computers work on candle light!

Its shameful, the second most richest country in the world in water resources, a vast hydro power potential, still untapped, underutilized. Its true that we have the generation potential to light every tree in Nepal with a light bulb (considering a decent amount of deforestation, there is surplus) but now its almost a matter of joke.

Load-shedding (I 'Googled' it up, most results pointed to Nepal) has never been so severe and no one thought it would be. But with 12hours/day and talks of 18hours/day in February, the picture never was bleaker.

The government is preparing to declare a state of emergency. Which we all know means that the government can do anything.

So, beside all the grumbling and failed attempts to generate enough static electricity to light a bulb, we have been forced to investigate. Who is to blame for the crisis?

There are various factors contributing to the power crisis - political, economic, environmental and social.

Undoubtedly, we can trace this problem back to the previous inept, corrupt Governments, the 10 year Maoist insurgency and improper planning and forecasting. Now the finance minister's talk about 10,000 MW of electricity by a decade is a matter of humor. Its frustrating and sad that still the ministers and party leaders are stuck in a fight for power and government posts rather than focusing on the power crisis. They have come up with contingency plans to tackle the crisis, but they are expensive or rather stupid. So called 'thermal' plants are nothing but diesel plants with generate electricity at 4 times the normal expense. Something tells me that this 'thermal plants' are nothing but ways to make a few people richer. Rather than looking for stupid alternative, the government should engage on repairing the broken transmission lines from India or should introduce an extensive CFL energy saving bulb distribution. We can alleviate the crisis in few months.

However, the government is not all to blame for this crisis. Its just hasn't rained this winter. The water level at Khulekhani Hydro-power Dam (which was actually built for emergencies only) stands dangerously low at 24 meters. If it doesn't rain enough, soon the dam will dry up.

Also, we are also to blame for some of this. We just don't turn off that light bulb or use heaters when one extra layer of clothes is enough. If all of us are aware of this we might as well reduce an hour of power outage per day. (*turns off the music*)

Things look bleak.

It is estimated that Nepal will loose Rs 45 billion or $700 million due to the power crisis. The hardest hit - Industries, hotels, cyber-cafes and just about every business.

Even so, the people on top don't seem to be worried enough. Why would they be? They don't go through bloody power cuts! That's right, areas around the PM's residence, the President's residence and the VP's residence don't experience power cuts! @#)$))$%

Lets leave the emotions aside and think about what we can do.

The answer seems obvious: use less electricity, turn off that unnecessary light bulb, T.V, micro-wave and every modern amenities of the 21st century. Better, sell them on

Think of solar power/inverter. A new problem has risen now, most of the houses are fitted with emergency back ups or inverters, and because of this, the little electricity that we have left goes to charging these inverters, hence, further increasing the consumption. Solar inverters can be expensive but 18hours/day load-shedding should demand them...any time now.

For now, you can join the Load-shedding Survival/Support Group in facebook. :)

Hold on tight. Its just another 5 years.

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