International Ministries

The Challenge of Winter Load Shedding

February 18, 2010 Journal
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Late last month Carole and I came into Kathmandu to prepare to receive two visitors from International Ministries and the pastor of our church in Royersford. Late the next morning I went into the HDCS office. Then and there the challenges of load shedding hit me with full force. In Nepal we call rolling electricity black outs "load shedding".

 

For the last four years not only has the demand for electricity in Kathmandu Valley grown, but the supply has decreased. Four years of below normal rainfall in the winter and only average rainfall, or less, during the summer monsoons have left insufficient water flowing through the hydroelectric plants' turbines. To make the limited supply of electricity help meet the demand there is load shedding during the winter months. Thankfully, the load shedding is scheduled, and the schedule is followed quite religiously, so people are able to plan their lives—what jobs to do for when they have electricity, what jobs to do when they don't.

 

To cope with the shortage, there are also a number of ways to augment one's electricity supply. In homes, people buy "inverters", which are hooked up to large batteries and then connected to only a few lights in the house. In offices and business, they either use inverters with even larger storage batteries, or move up to generators. Last on the list, due to expense, are solar panels.

 

That Thursday morning, when I arrived at the HDCS office, the staff was waiting for the electricity to come back on at 10:30.  They didn’t know that a new load shedding schedule was starting that very day. Instead of having electricity from 10:30 AM to 2:00 PM, the office was now only going to have it only from 12-2:00 PM.  Only two hours of electricity during an 8-hour workday! Because two of the batteries on the office's inverter were broken, the inverter would only provide one hour's worth of electricity during the first round of load shedding. But during the two hours of electricity, the batteries were not able to re-charge enough to provide any electricity after 2 PM. The new schedule for Friday was similar, be two hours of electricity, from 2-4:00 PM.

 

As you can imagine, it is difficult to get one's work done under such conditions. It is even more difficult to stay motivated to work. So we are collaborating with International Ministries to raise funds to help alleviate this work situation for our partners. If helping to meet such a need interests you, please let us know by emailing us.

 

Meanwhile, we have read on the internet how snow has beset much of the eastern USA, even moving into the south. Our hometown, Royersford, has received over 70 inches of snow in less than two months! That is possibly more than all the snow it has got in all of the last 20 years! Such a challenge!

 

As we think of you and your challenges, we want to thank you for being interested in us and the challenges the people and the Church in Nepal face.