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Dhaka Saturday,  Jun 3, 2023

Bangladesh To Cut Work Hours As Power Crunch Could Linger Through September

Households in Bangladesh could be plagued by power outages until September amid a global energy crisis, a grim outlook that has forced officials to recommend measures like reducing work hours, according to Tawfiq-e-Elahi Chowdhury, the prime minister’s energy adviser.

Spiralling fuel prices in the international market, driven by the war in Ukraine, have forced the government to cut back on power production and start rationing electricity.

The government is now exploring cost-effective policies to mitigate the effects of the power crisis, Chowdhury told reporters after a meeting with energy sector officials on Thursday.

“Several new coal-fired power plants will come into operation in September. These can be relied on [for power] instead of expensive oil and gas-fired power plants.”

In light of the surging costs of fuel, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has stressed the need to practise austerity in the consumption of power. Chowdhury believes that the impact of the power crunch can be minimised if the demand for electricity is limited to 12,000 megawatts.

State Minister for Power, Energy and Mineral Resources Nasrul Hamid earlier in the day touched on the dwindling natural gas supply that forced the government to scale down electricity generation. Around 64 percent of power plants in Bangladesh run on natural gas, but the reserves will eventually dry up, he warned.

Representatives of the Power Distribution Company suggested reducing office hours and ending all programmes early in the evening to save electricity. They also urged frugality with the use of air conditioners.

Chowdhury does not see an alternative to saving power with the prices of liquified natural gas or LNG and diesel spiralling.

“Everyone has to be frugal on their own, not just because the government or the prime minister has said so,”‘ he said.

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