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The Lakshmi Pooja that made Kulman a 'hero', from where the loadshedding-free Nepal started

Kathmandu: The Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) had published a 12-hour load shedding schedule during the 2072 BS festival. The NEA had made a special request to the citizens of the areas where the lights were on as per the schedule of load shedding. 

On the day of Lakshmi Pooja, load shedding had hampered the religious belief that Lakshmi should be brought in with light and glitter. Somewhere it was very dark, even where the lights came on, I was forced to be stingy. 

Even on the day of Lakshmi Pooja, the citizens who were hit by load shedding did not find it unusual to see load shedding at other times. 

The government-appointed Kulman Ghising as the executive director of the Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) on August 13, 2008, when there was load shedding of up to eight hours a day even during the rainy season.

Citizens, who were disturbed by the 18-hour load shedding in winter, started taking interest in Ghising, the executive director who came to NEA. Citizens were hopeful after the successful operation of the Chilime Hydropower Project by the Ghising Authority. 

It was like a natural process for the load shedding schedule to increase after the rains. For many years, the citizens were not able to enjoy the glitter of the festival. 

In the festival of 2073 BS, the citizens got a 'surprise' from the Nepal Electricity Authority. Without any expectation from the citizens, the authority had issued a notice saying 'burn as much electricity as needed'. 

Citizens, who have been languishing in the dark for years, were overjoyed after the information from the authority. On the day of Lakshmi Pooja, no one had to spend a black night of load shedding. Kathmandu was illuminated by the glitter of the festival. All-around praise for Kulman Ghising began. Ghising, who passed the big exam on the day of Lakshmi Pooja, increased the pace of work and success even more. Gradually, the country has become load-shedding free. 

The day of Lakshmi Puja was not easy

It was not easy for the then executive director Ghising, who announced that the lights would not be cut anywhere on the day of Lakshmi Puja, to balance supply and demand. But Ghising, who is known as a person who makes difficult work easier, started preparing for the festival ten years later. 

It was planned to run the projects including Kaligandaki, Marsyangdi, and Kulekhani at full capacity, operate a 10 MW diesel plant in Hetauda, and take measures to prevent theft. Repairs were carried out in some places. Electricity imported from India was also managed. 

On the day of Lakshmi Pooja, Ghising started preparing for the evening from early morning, giving instructions from somewhere by phone and creating an environment where he could not go around the valley by himself.  

In the evening, the Ghising Authority's load dispatch center reached Suchatar, from where real-time updates on power supply and demand across the country are received. 

Demand for this specialty has grown significantly as a result of recent corporate scandals. The maximum demand of Kathmandu was stopped at 350 MW, while the demand across the country reached 1250 MW. According to Ghising's plan, the lights did not have to be cut in the Kathmandu Valley. Arriving at the No Light Center in Kathmandu, Ghising thanked the staff. Ghising reached home at 12 o'clock at night and breathed a sigh of relief. Agile management took place all over the country, citizens celebrated Lakshmi Puja with light. 

"At that time, it was not as easy as we thought now. The demand was 450 MW less than the demand. We have succeeded only by saving a little bit and focusing on the second. That Lakshmi Puja day of 2073 was the beginning of load-shedding free Nepal," said Ghising.

When the lights come on during load shedding, there is a lot of demand because citizens keep inverters, batteries, and other equipment in charge. But as the NEA has been reducing load shedding since August, the citizens have started using inverters and batteries. Therefore, the demand for electricity did not increase suddenly. 

"We started giving regular lights from August to September, so the sudden drop in demand for inverters, Barty charges were reduced by about 150 MW, which also gave us relief," Ghising recalled the old days. 

'Easier to manage now'

According to Kulman Ghising, 467 MW of electricity has been added to the national grid since August 2073 BS. 

"When I came to the authority, the supply and demand chain was broken. It was very difficult to get it on track. After four years of hard work, we have got almost everything on track," Ghising said. 

He said that it has become easier to balance the demand and supply of electricity as many sick projects have been completed, work is being done as per the schedule of the project under construction, thousands of equipment have been replaced to end the power cut due to technical reasons. 

"The load shedding has ended. We have turned the NEA, which is in a deficit of Rs. 1 billion annually, into a profit of Rs. 1 billion. The NEA is in a position to go into accumulated profit. Appropriate people have been appointed inappropriate places. 

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