MB Subba 

Electricity generation disruption at the 1,020MW Tala Hydropower Plant has hit the domestic revenue.

The total revenue loss from the country’s largest plant from July 19 to 27 amounted to about Nu 317 million (M). The exact figures will be known only after compiling the billing reports for the month.

After a total shutdown for the first few days beginning July 19, the plant’s generation capacity was restored to 610MW, equivalent to 14.64 million units (MU). This means the plant’s daily revenue earning capacity was reduced to Nu 31M from Nu 55M at the tariff rate of Nu 2.12 per unit.

At this time of the year, the plant in its full capacity generates a total of 1,122MW, including the additional 10 percent overloading generation. This means the plant would be producing about 26 million units (MU) of electricity had there not been disruptions.

The plant generates about Nu 1.7 billion in revenue in a month during the monsoon.

Efforts to restore generation to its full capacity were underway, according to officials.

Economic Affairs Minister Loknath Sharma said that the disruption would hit the domestic revenue that was estimated to grow marginally by 7 percent in the fiscal year 2021-22.

The projected domestic revenue and recurrent expenditure in the fiscal year 2021-22 are Nu 35.6 billion (B) and 35.598B, respectively. This means estimated domestic revenue before the Tala shutdown was just enough to cover the recurrent expenditure.

“Fortunately, no severe technical glitches have been reported,” he said, adding that Druk Green Power Corporation (DGPC) had submitted a report to the government. He said that heavy downpour was responsible for the damage.

 DGPC’s managing director, Dasho Chhewang Rinzin, said checking of power and transmission lines were being carried out yesterday for restoration of export to its full capacity. “We have completed the work and the issues have been solved.”

The Ministry of Finance recently extended austerity measures in the fiscal year (FY) 2021-22 in view of poor revenue forecast. However, officials said that no further austerity measures would be implemented because of the disruption in Tala project.

The hydropower sector was considered the bedrock of the economy when the rest of the sectors suffered during the pandemic. It saw significant growth with energy generation increasing by 31.45 percent in 2020.

Hydropower exports as a share of GDP increased by 18.7 percent, accounting for 58 percent of total exports in 2020, offsetting the decline in non-hydro exports.

The plant was shut down on July 19 after large chunks of debris clogged the gates of the intake tunnels due to heavy rain for days.

Officials said that the problem was with the water-conducting system from the dam to the surge shaft and not with the generating units themselves.