NEA cuts off power to street lights in Bardibas

Bardibas, Feb.1: The Gaushala Distribution Centre of Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) has started cutting street lights at the five local levels of the district. According to the Gaushala Distribution Centre, after the municipalities refused to pay the arrears despite repeated requests, they started cutting off the lights as a last resort. 

Mayor of the Municipality has been saying that no matter what NEA does, the office is unable to pay the dues in the current situation. 

According to the NEA, Gaushala, the five local levels have to pay Rs. 17.2 million dues for the street lights as of July 16, 2023.   

The Authority has shown the highest arrears of Rs. 6.5 million of Bardibas Municipality. According to the Account section of the distribution centre, Rs. 4.7 million arrears need to be collected from Bhangaha Municipality, Rs. 2.4 million from Aurahi Municipality, Rs. 1.9 million from Sonma Rural Municipality and Rs. 1.5 million from Gaushala Municipality. 

According to Jagannath Jha, Head of Gaushala Distribution Centre, the Authority has been requesting the municipalities in writing since before Dashain festival to pay the street lighting arrears.

“We sent separate letters giving 45-day time in October to pay the street light charges. After it was not heeded, the municipalities were again asked to pay the arrears in November. We sent a written request again,” Jha said. 

“After the request was ignored, the NEA is forced to start the process of cutting off the lights,” said Jha. Gaushala Distribution Centre has so far cut off more than 300 street lights after arrears were not paid in time. The local levels have, however, alleged that the local office failed to pay the fees after the NEA did not come to collect the money in time.  

The chiefs of the local bodies have been expressing their displeasure with the cutting power supply of street lights and with the obligation of paying the arrears even before they were elected.

Prahlad Chhetri, mayor of Bardibas Municipality, which has the highest arrears, said that such a huge amount cannot be paid in the current condition. “The NEA itself is the first to blame for the accumulation in arrears,” he said. 

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