Energy-starved Nepal’s plans to import 80 MW electricity from India from February 16 have turned uncertain due to last-minute differences related to pricing, a media report said on THursday.

The tariff issue emerged after India assigned NTPC Vidyut Vyapar Nigam to export power to Nepal. Previously, India’s Power Trading Corporation (PTC) was supposed to supply the 80 MW electricity. PTC had proposed selling the electricity at Rs 5.5 per unit, but NTPS has now demanded Rs 8.8 per unit, The Kathmandu Post reported.

"The issue surfaced after a new agency was brought onboard to supply energy to Nepal. We are doing our bit to resolve the issue at the earliest," NEA Managing Director Mukesh Kafle was quoted as saying by the paper.

After NEA’s appeal to Indian agencies concerned to abide by the proposal made earlier failed, it has corresponded to India’s Power Ministry through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs over the issue.

"We are sure the G2G (government-to-government) negotiation will yield positive results," said Kafle.

The hurdle comes even as the construction of the 400kV Dhalkebar-Muzaffarpur cross-border transmission line was set to complete by today and a test transmission would begin from tomorrow.

"This marks the end of infrastructure development of the cross-border transmission line," Kafle said.

Nepal purchases energy from PTC at Rs 5.80 per unit on an average. The country is currently importing 200-230MW electricity from India everyday. The import of additional energy will help reduce load shedding by around two hours a day.

However, Kafle said NEA could not import the additional energy until the tariff-related issues are resolved.

"This is a commercial deal and without clarity on tariff we simply cannot act," he said, adding since the import of the additional energy falls under the government’s priority, he was optimistic the issue would be resolved soon.

During a Nepal-India Joint Steering Committee meeting in January, the two countries had discussed Nepal importing up to 200MW energy from the Dhalkebar-Muzaffarpur transmission line within the next winter season and had agreed to make the project functional in full capacity by December 2017.

Once the project is operated in full capacity, Nepal will be able to import around 940MW energy from India.