Electricity cables to go underground in Kathmandu


KATHMANDU, Feb 25. Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) has started work to put power lines underground.

The power utility has selected Indian firm KEI Industries Ltd to develop underground power supply system distributing lines to over 100,000 households in Kathmandu district within 30 months.

To begin with, NEA is taking power lines of Maharajgunj Distribution Center and Ratna Park Distribution Center underground. Maharajganj Distribution Center covers northern part of Kathmandu including Gongabu, Tokha and Baluwatar, among, others while Ratna Park Distribution Center supplies power to old parts of Kathmandu like New Road, Thamel and Tripureshwar.

The project is worth Rs 7.41 billion. KEI Industries Limited will create underground infrastructure for distributing power supply from 400 to 11,000 voltage cables, according to NEA officials.

Apart from enhancing power supply system, the project also aims at beautifying Kathmandu Valley by getting rid of entangled wires which have been an eyesore for many years.

With the new infrastructure first of its kind in terms of scale, NEA is hopeful of lowering technical losses as well as readying necessary infrastructure to go for automation of electricity supply in the future.

Automation means using multiple electricity supply feeders for uninterrupted power supply, according to NEA officials.

Underground electricity distribution system also prevents any possible hazards in the event of accidents and falling of electricity poles.

Valley denizens won’t have worry about another round of road digging, as the NEA is deploying a new technology called horizontal directional drilling. It is a trenchless method of installing underground pipes of cables.

Abhishek Adhikari, the head of NEA’s Kathmandu Valley Middle and Northern Distribution System Enhancement Project, said that the project will also use gun tracker radar while laying pipelines to assess underground structure before planning horizontal drilling.

NEA will also lay down optical fiber and television cables along with power lines. “Our optical fiber network will be different from similar network laid by Nepal Telecom,” Adhikari added.

Officials of the power utility say that the contractor would take few more weeks to begin its works.

Kathmandu Valley Middle and Northern Distribution System Enhancement Project is a part of Power Transmission and Distribution Efficiency Enhancement Project loan financed by Asian Development Bank (ADB). It will cover remaining areas of Kathmandu district in second, and Lalitpur, Bhaktapur and other major cities of the country later on.

Improved access to efficient, adequate, and high-quality power supply in the Kathmandu Valley is the expect outcome of this project, according to project administration manual of the ADB.