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Nepal imports more electric cooktops for optimization of surplus power

An average Nepali kitchen. Photo Courtesy:

KATHMANDU — Nepal has been importing more electric cooktops in the past months to optimize its surplus hydropower, show the latest data from Nepal’s Department of Customs.

The South Asian country imported 10,435 electric cooktops in the 2019-20 fiscal year that ended in mid-July 2020, but the figure rose to 152,588 in 2020-21, of which 125,530 pieces were brought from China, according to the department.

During the first four months of the current fiscal year, 11,269 electric cooktops were imported, with China contributing 9,149 pieces.

Punya Bikram Khadka, information officer with the Department of Customs, told Xinhua on Tuesday that more cooktops have been imported along with other electrical equipment as the country currently has abundant power.

For now, most of the urban households in Nepal use liquified petroleum gas for cooking.

Nepal had a power outage lasting up to 18 hours per day in 2006-2017, but it is currently producing around 2,000 megawatts (MW) of electricity, with 1,900MW generated from hydropower projects, while the peak-hour demand for power stands at around 1,500MW, according to the Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA).

As it is seeking to electrify the households along with irrigation, industries and vehicles, Nepal has also started to sell its surplus power through the Indian market.

Nepali authorities have cut tariffs to encourage more power consumption, while Suresh Bahadur Bhattarai, the NEA’s spokesman, told Xinhua that work is being done to improve the power distribution for more use of electricity in kitchens.

Cooking gas and other petroleum products are the largest import item for Nepal. In 2020-21, the country bought cooking gas worth 36.18 billion Nepali rupees (300 million U.S. dollars), up from 27.89 billion rupees (232 million dollars) in the previous fiscal year, according to the Department of Customs.

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