Power supply in worst-hit Kathmandu valley to be fully restored today

KATHMANDU (Kathmandu Post/Asia News Network) - Nepalese authorities say electricity supply to the Kathmandu valley, which was hit the hardest by the 7.8 magnitude earthquake disaster, is likely to be fully restored by Wednesday evening.

The state-owned Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) said it was successfully operating substations in Balaju, Lazimpat and Teku. Transformers and other mechanical equipments at the substations had been knocked out by Saturday's earthquake.

"All three substations will come into operation by Wednesday," Mukesh Raj Kafle, managing director of NEA, was cited as saying by a Kathmandu Post report published online on Wednesday.

"The NEA has been successful in fulfilling 70 per cent of energy demand in Kathmandu valley."

Various pockets in the valley and 12 districts face power outage as distribution mechanisms have been completely devastated. Electricity polls, transmission lines and substations among others have remained out of service.

A team from the Indian Air Force and the Power Grid Corporation of India, including 16 engineers, has been helping NEA to deal with technical glitches.

"The Indian team is here for assessment of damages in electricity distribution," Kafle said.

However, the NEA has needed to halt energy supplies in places where turning on energy supplies could result in further casualties.

"Locals of some of the places have been urging us to keep the service down and we want to avert further damages," said Kafle.

Almost all hydropower projects including the 45-MW Bhotekoshi and the 10-MW Sunkoshi in the quake-affected regions have also remained out of service due to severe damage. Three under-construction hydropower facilities have been damaged too, the NEA confirmed.

Meanwhile telecom operators said their services have improved since power supplies were partially restored.

Nepal Telecom and Ncell have reported strengthening of their networks across the nation.