Despite an improvement in payment, the government still owes $1.5 billion to the private power plant operators for the purchase of electricity, according to official sources.
The sources confirmed this week that the state-owned Bangladesh Power Development Board (BPDB), the single buyer on behalf of the government, partially cleared the payment until February last.
“We have not received any payment against the electricity purchase bills of March till the current month,” said Imran Karim, president of the Bangladesh Independent Power Producers Association (BIPPA), the representative body of the private power producers in the country.
“Some of us received the highest 60%of the payments against the bills of February while many have not,” he told UNB.
He hoped that there would be a major breakthrough in the bill settlements soon as their persuasion continued at the highest policy-making level.
Normally, the BPDB purchases electricity worth Tk4,000 crore per month.
Now, the payments against the bills of four months— March, April, May and June— are pending to be cleared. In addition, some partial bills for February have also not been cleared.
By this calculation, the total amount of the pending bills will be over $1.5 billion, said Imran, also the director of the Confidence Group, which owns a number of private plants.
BPDB has been in a cash crunch for the last several months which forced the organization to move a proposal to the energy regulator to raise the electricity price at the retail level.
The Bangladesh Energy Regulatory Commission (BERC) is yet to make any decision though it recently held a public hearing on the issue.
The BPDB, however, disagreed with the calculation saying that it normally gets 45 days to clear a bill after submission. “If the due payment is calculated this way the amount will be equivalent for two and a half months,” said Saiful Hasan Chowdhury, director, of public relations of the BPDB.
He said BPDB has cleared most of the payments against the bills of February.