Loadshedding – the act of cutting electricity to Nepalis for up to 14 hours per day – has been a daily occurrence for the past decade.
The impact on daily life is significant but at least the outage sticks to a schedule so with a little planning, you can ensure devices are juiced up, rice is cooked in the rice cooker and water for tea/coffee is kept hot in a thermos well before the outage kicks in.
During the outage, kids get their homework done via candle or flashlight which is not very good for their eyesight, and it’s rather ominous to travel through the streets in the pitch black when not everyone turns on their vehicle lights.
It’s also a challenge while walking to avoid falling down random holes in the road or losing your sense of direction and veering off into the ditch which acts as a quasi sewage system. This is my greatest fear – falling into the ditch.
For businesses, it’s impossible to run your business effectively so having solar power (expensive to install) or a generator (expensive to run on diesel) is a must. Or alternatively you slip the right person(s) a few rupees to guarantee delivery of electricity at the times you need it.
But in a way, I love when the electricity is out. I get some practice with power outages living on a small island that is subjected to wind storms and as is currently the case, heavy dumps of snow that take down branches that in turn take down the power lines. It sometimes takes a day or two for the truck & crew to make it to the island to reconnect everything, it all depends what the sea is doing at the same time.
My life is simple when in Nepal so not having electricity for me is not a trial. I get to see the stars very clearly by night, and oh the stillness and quiet is just mesmerizing. No invasive blue light from devices, just bliss.
If you are interested in seeing more of Kuntal’s stunning photos, take a look here.
But for the past month or so, loadshedding in Nepal has ended and electricity is available pretty much 24/7. How the heck did that happen you might ask??
There’s a bit of a “clean up” underway at Nepal’s Electricity Authority (NEA) with more transparent practices being introduced – a very good thing. Read all about it in this article from the Nepali Times.
There may be hope for Nepal yet!