Kathmandu: The government has a plan to increase the per capita electricity consumption to 400 units by the end of next fiscal year. The consumption, now, according to the Nepal Electricity Authority, stands at 350 units.
Despite the government’s plan to increase the power consumption, consumers, as the data shows, are not switching to the clean energy options for cooking purposes.
A survey by Nepal Live Today in six households shows that people still shy away from using the electric stoves, despite being cheap, because they think that induction stoves are costly, use up more electricity and that many of them do not know how to use it. Many homemakers feel more comfortable using gas stoves than induction stoves. This indicates a need for further awareness and education on the benefits of using electricity for cooking in order to increase adoption and achieve the government’s goals.
The report of the National Census shows that only 0.5 percent of Nepal’s population use electric stoves for cooking.
Devi Kumari Rai, resident of Mahadevsthan Koteshwor, has both LPG gas as well induction stoves in her kitchen but she mostly uses the gas stove saying that the induction stove is only for times of emergency. “I use the induction stove only occasionally,”she said. One cylinder of LPG, which costs Rs 1900, lasts at most for two months for her family. So why is she not using the electric stove? She says she thinks it is more costly than gas. She says LPG is easier to use and cooks food faster. “But if the electricity cost goes down I will use an induction stove as much as LPG,” she said.
Biru Bajgain, who lives in Bhaisepati of Lalitpur, has never used induction stoves in her kitchen. “I have always used LPG and I am used to it,” she said, adding that she has never thought about using the induction stoves. She spends around Rs 1800 for LPG per month.
Rashmi Shrestha, who lives in Boudha, uses both LPG and induction side by side because she thinks it’s advantageous. “When I am in a rush I use gas and when I have enough time I use the induction stove,” she said. She also believes that the induction stove raises her electricity bill. “If the per unit cost of electricity goes down, I am surely going to use induction stoves alone,” said Shrestha.
Danu Bajracharya, who resides in Nagbahal of Patan, has refrained from using the induction stoves because she thinks the electric stoves require a separate set of utensils which adds to the financial burden of the family.
For Shreesti Dangol, who lives in Khumaltar, the reason not to use the induction stove much is because not all types of utensils go with electric stoves. She also believes induction stoves are not so reliable during the times of power cuts. “Induction can be risky, plus we always need to have a gas stove standby in case of load-shedding,” said Dangol.
Bina Lama of Patan has never used induction stoves though she has seen other people use it. “Gas is okay for me. I don’t even know how much an induction stove costs,” she said. “But if it is easier and more convenient than gas, I will think about it.”
According to Suresh Bahadur Bhattarai, the government had planned to increase electricity consumption, but it has only been able to achieve a maximum increase of 200 units per year. “This is due to the fact that there are fewer houses in remote areas, resulting in a smaller quantum of electricity consumption. On the other hand, in urban areas, the consumption of electricity is higher. Also, there is no access to electrical appliances in the rural regions. This is why the overall electricity consumption for cooking purposes is less.”