Gov­ern­ment ex­plor­ing ways to fast-track ru­ral elec­tri­fi­ca­tion

Bhutan Times - - Celebrating 27th Birth Anniversary - Lhakpa Tsh­er­ing

The gov­ern­ment is set pro­vide elec­tric­ity to ev­ery ru­ral house­hold in the coun­try by end of this year. This is much ahead, as en­vi­sioned in Bhutan Vi­sion 2020.

As of 2016 Bhutan had 99.5 per­cent ru­ral elec­tri­fi­ca­tion cov­er­age. Cur­rently Lingzhi in Thim­phu, Lu­nana in Gasa, and Jig­me­chol­ing in Sarpang Dzongkhag are the only gewogs that are not con­nected to hy­dro- elec­tric­ity.

Elec­tric­ity helps ru­ral com­mu­ni­ties and benefits farm­ers to com­plete their work on time. It shares the bur­den of the farm­ers in terms of fi­nance, re­sources and time among oth­ers. This, in turn, is ex­pected to im­prove the living stan­dard with ma­chiner­ies and elec­tric kitchen uten­sils and other nec­es­sary house­hold items.

Bhutan Power Cor­po­ra­tion Lim­ited ( BPCL), in its an­nual re­port 2016, stated that the com­pany will con­tinue to meet re­quests and re­quire­ments for new con­nec­tions em­a­nat­ing from ru­ral elec­tri­fi­ca­tion fill- ins for new house­holds. The cor­po­ra­tion ex­pects to achieve elec­tric­ity for all.

The cor­po­ra­tion that was en­trusted to light up 40,257 house­holds with the on- grid elec­tri­fi­ca­tion by 2013 was able to achieved 94 per­cent cov­er­age. The re­port states that the cor­po­ra­tion tried its best to meet the tar­get.

How­ever, it was not with­out chal­lenges be­cause of ge­o­graph­i­cal ter­rains and scat­tered work sites which made their work dif­fi­cult. “The se­vere work­ing con­di­tions made it dif­fi­cult to re­cruit and re­tain la­bor­ers at the work sites.” The re­ports stated, “In some cases, BPC did not re­ceive re­quired sup­port from the com­mu­nity, which fur­ther de­layed the progress of ru­ral elec­tri­fi­ca­tion.”

The shift­ing and re­lo­cat­ing of the ex­ist­ing lines at all vil­lage lev­els are some of the ma­jor chal­lenges in pur­suit of ex­pand­ing its in­fra­struc­ture net­work sys­tem and to pro­vide un­in­ter­rupted and reli­able power sup­ply.

Ac­cord­ing to the re­port, BPC as part of the sys­tem im­prove­ment works un­der­takes con­tin­u­ous in­vest­ments for sys­tem ex­pan­sion. It is to im­prove sup- ply re­li­a­bil­ity, meet the in­creas­ing de­mand for power, im­prove safety and re­duce en­ergy loss.

Some of the power ex­pan­sion works are con­struc­tion of sub­sta­tion in Da­gapela, con­struc­tion of dou­ble cir­cuit trans­mis­sion line from Kan­glung to Phuntshothang, Phuntshothang to Motanga and Motanga to Nganglam.

In 2016, BPC also signed a mem­o­ran­dum of un­der­stand­ing with Korea Elec­tric Power Cor­po­ra­tion Elec­tric­ity Gen­er­at­ing Authority and Metropoli­tan Elec­tric­ity Authority in Thai­land, and Asian In­sti­tute of Tech­nol­ogy to develop tech­ni­cal and busi­ness co­op­er­a­tion.

The de­mand for the elec­tric­ity con­sump­tion for do­mes­tic pur­pose has been steady and the peak de­mand recorded was more than 335 Mil­lion Units ( MU). BPC to­day has about 177,151 cus­tomers.

Last year, BPCL sold 2,008 MU of en­ergy which is 7.38 per­cent less than the pre­vi­ous year and ex­ported 5,779 MU en­ergy. Its profit after tax amounted to 1.54 bil­lion in 2016.

Ru­ral elec­tri­fi­ca­tion project is under chal­lenges be­cause of ge­o­graph­i­cal ter­rains and scat­tered work sites which made their work dif­fi­cult.

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