Business leaders-local entrepreneurs- want a very clear cut picture of power and energy situation in the country from the government as they are experiencing a 292 hours of loadshedding in a calendar year, although the government fails to sell 4000 MW of electricity in off- peak hours every day.
“Government is saying that there is no loadshedding in the country but we are experiencing about a 292 hours’ loadshedding every year which causes a huge loss for us and hamper our production almost every day. We also want to know the future tariff scenario from the government as it is planning to blend more LNG with our local gas,” Bangladesh Textile Mills Association President Mohammad Ali Khokon said at a meeting that discussed the problems of the Energy and Power sector on Saturday.
Organized by Bangladesh Energy and Power Research Council (BEPRC) in collaboration with the Ministry of Power, Energy and Mineral Resources , the meeting was held at Bidyut Bhaban.
The meeting observed that the owners of the industries and mills are meeting their energy demand from captive power, although government has increased production in power sector.
“Narayanganj, Asulia, Savar, Gazipur, Shiddhirganj and Chattagram are the major areas where loadshedding is a regular issue,” the business leaders’ claimed.
State Minister for Power, Energy and Mineral Resources Nasrul Hamid told the meeting that unconsumed power of off-peak hours now has been a big concern for the government as it has to pay a huge amount of money as capacity charge to the private generation companies. According to him it is around 4,000 MW surplus power in off-peak hours which remains unutilised.
“The owners are demanding uninterrupted supply of electricity, but nowadays it is not possible on our part,” the State Minister told the meeting. Rather he said “Our demand for electricity drastically comes down after 11 pm, leading to a surplus of 4,000 MW.”
To address the issue, the Ministry of Power, Energy and Mineral resources decided to form a high-powered committee within next two weeks and ask it to submit the report within next 60 working days, which will be implemented by the next eight- to- ten months, Nasrul Hamid told reporters following the closed door meeting.
The meeting was also addressed by Prime Minister’s Energy Adviser Dr Tawfiq-e-Elahi Chowdhury, PM’s Industries Adviser Salman F Rahman, State Minister for Power, Energy and Mineral Resources Nasrul Hamid, Power Secretary Dr Ahmad Kaikaus, Power Development Board (PDB) Chairman Khaled Mahmud, Rural Electrification Board (REB) Chairman Moin Uddin and Sustainable and Renewable Energy Development Authority (SREDA) Chairman Helal Uddin.
Taking part in the discussion, PM’s Energy Adviser said that the government plans to increase tariff of captive power as there is huge power in the grid line.
“We want to supply uninterrupted gas supply for 24 hours but we see some difficulties in areas like Ashulia, Narayanganj, Savar, Gazipur and Chattogram�however, we are working to address the issue, it will take three years to solve the problem,” the State Minister told the reporters.
It was learnt that during the meeting the government officials disclosed its plans to offer lower tariff for electricity consumption during the off-peak hours.
Mentioning that the government has moved to set up 108 special economic zones where uninterrupted gas and power supply will be ensured, Nasrul Hamid urged the owners of industries to set up their industries in the special economic zones.
Nasrul also pointed out that the government has planned to generate 60,000 MW of power by 2040 for which about $120 billion investment will be required. “But both the public and private sectors are unable to invest taking loan from local banks due to high interest rate of about 14 percent.”
He drew attention of the PM’s industries adviser for his effort to lower the bank interest rate by reducing the non-performing loans (NPLs).
Salman F Rahman said the government has taken a zero tolerance policy for which NPL will be coming down. It requires huge private sector investment to go to the next level of economic development, he said.
PDB chairman Khaled Mahmud said the use of power during off-peak hours will be encouraged.
He said the government is now importing 1,160 MW of electricity from India while another 2500 MW will be imported later from this neighbouring country.
“BEPRC’s chairman would be the convener of a high-powered committee, other organizations including the business leaders would send their representative to the committee to make a workable plan,” the State Minister told the reporters.