Electricity tariff for retail customers could go up this or next month as the government gave a nod to the energy ministry’s move to rationalise the price for cutting subsidies.
The tariff might be raised on the basis of proposals from the distributors to the energy regulator in December 2012. The utility companies have proposed a hike between 9 and 12 percent.
The issue of power tariff hike surfaced again after Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Thursday endorsed the power ministry’s plea to adjust the power and gas tariffs.
The PM has given her nod for rationalisation of power and gas tariffs, prime minister’s energy adviser Tawfiq-e-Elahi Chowdhury told.
She, however, directed the officials concerned to keep consumers’ affordability under consideration while hiking the price. Proposals from different distribution companies have been pending with the BERC, mentioned the adviser.
In September 2012, the BERC last increased the retail power tariff — the rate the distributors charge end-users — by 15 percent to Tk5.75 per unit amid opposition from consumers and rights groups.
This was the fifth increase in retail power tariff since the last Awami League government assumed office in 2009. Since February 2011, the commission has increased retail tariff by 43.75 percent (from Tk4 a unit to Tk5.75 a unit).
Sources said following proposals from distributors in December 2012, the BERC had taken preparation to increase the tariff by about 5 percent. But the plan had to be postponed following intervention by the prime minister, who was opposed to raising of tariff in an election year.