Thursday, February 10, 2011

Load Shedding

"Load Shedding" is something I've alluded to a few times in posts here, but I've never explained what it is properly.

Basically, there's more demand for power in Kathmandu than there is power. This is partly because most Nepali electricity is generated by hydro-power, and now that it's dry season there isn't so much water around. According to most Nepalis it's also because Nepal sells its electricity to India so it can make money instead of delivering it here.

To deal with this shortfall, whatever may be causing it, the city is divided into seven blocks and they alternate who has access to power. throughout parts of the year you may find yourself without power for a a couple of hours a day - never more than about 8 hours through out the week. At the moment, however, in the very depths of the dry season we are without electricity for approximately 14 hours a day. You can check out this week's schedule here, if you're curious I live in group 6.

Given that I do a large amount of work on computers, this is obviously an inconvenience for me, but it constantly amazes me that the city continues to function as it does at all. On most nights one can hear the steady hum of generators (a must of any size business that wants to survive here), and meals by candle light aren't romantic, just pragmatic.

It's things like constantly streaming electricity that I take for granted at home, but when you're without it for more than half of every day it suddenly becomes rather a luxury!


  1. I had no idea there was a schedule online!

  2. Yes, although if you read the not-so-fine print you'll see "Depending upon the condition, load-shedding could increase/decrease by one hour."

    Strangely enough this clause tends to be invoked for increasing load shedding much more often than decreasing it, rendering the timetable fairly useless.