Power generation dips by 7.5 percent in first 4 months

Kuensel | Thukten Zangpo | June 3, 2023

… power import up by over 50 percent, export fall by over 80 percent

Hydropower generation saw a drop of 7.5 percent between January and April compared to the same period last year.

The overall generation was recorded at 1, 385.97 million units in the first four months of 2023 compared to 1, 498.18 million units of electricity in the same period the previous year.

Managing Director of Druk Green Power Corporation (DGPC), Dasho Chhewang Rinzin said that the decrease was because of shutdown of Tala hydropower plant for the repairs and maintenance of the underwater infrastructure from January to March 16 this year and because of poor hydrology.

In the first four months of 2021 and 2020, the hydropower generation was 1,270 million units and 1,322.87 million units respectively.

The decrease in electricity generation and increase in the domestic consumption by over 40 percent led to the fall in export of electricity by over 80 percent.

The country’s export of electricity fell to 65.33 million units as of April this year compared to 543.13 million units in the same period the previous year. In monetary terms, it decreased to Nu 268.19 million from Nu 1.85 billion.

The export figure includes only the DGPC plants–Tala, Chukha, Kurichhu, Basochhu and Mangdechhu, and excludes Dagachhu power plant. Dagachhu’s electricity export was recorded at Nu 141.77 million in the first four months.

However, the domestic consumption of electricity increased to 1, 252.44 million units worth Nu 2.44 billion compared to 872.72 million units worth Nu 1.7 billion as of April last year.

In an earlier interview, Dasho Chhewang Rinzin said that an increase in domestic consumption affects overall revenues since the domestic tariff generation is lower than the export tariff.

The DGPC has forecasted the total generation of around 10,798 million units this year from the DGPC plants.

Bhutan also had to import about 50 percent more electricity in 2023. Bhutan purchased 367 million units of electricity worth Nu 1.73 billion for four months from January to April.

The import saw an increase by additional 127 million units or Nu 927.27 million compared to the previous year.

For 2022, Bhutan purchased 240 million units worth Nu 798 million from January to March. The energy import was passed on to high voltage consumers.

According to the DGPC, the import approval for 2022 was sought from the Indian government for the first three months where the purchase was made from the Day Ahead Market of Indian Energy Exchange through a competitive bidding process.

The exchange prices are determined through double-sided auction from buyers and sellers and prices are determined through competitive bidding for every 15 minutes time block, the DGPC MD said.