Nepal is still coming to terms after the devastating 7.8-magnitude earthquake. Immediate relief effort has finally started to reach remote areas. With government, security forces, independent groups, international governments and organizations continuing their extra-ordinary work in the relief efforts, I would like to draw attention to simultaneously thinking about the long-term recovery process. The recovery process includes debris removal, post-earthquake health sector co-ordination, restoration of public utilities, and resettlement/reconstruction/ rehabilitation.
Recovery will be long and arduous. Although it is too early to assess the full cost of the catastrophic earthquake, an initial estimate by U.S. Geological Service reckons damages of $1 to $10 billion. An economist with IHS forecasts the cost of reconstruction to be around $5 billion.
Central Coordination is key
Nepal’s energy situation is marred with massive power shortages. Besides low production of electricity, the other cause for the shortage of electricity is the amount of power lost during the transmission and distribution process. The average annual transmission loss in Nepal’s electricity market is about 28 percent of total electricity generation (Nepal Electricity Authority, 2011), whereas the average power loss among 134 countries that are in World Bank’s database is 13.67%.
Reducing transmission loss is very important because the saved power can be sold to consumers and thus can generate extra revenue. It is even crucial in Nepal’s case, since we have not been able to produce enough electricity to meet the demand. Thus, decreasing transmission losses not only generates additional revenue, it can also be an alternative for saving capital cost from building new infrastructures.