PDB’s plea for bulk power price hike
Published : Tuesday, 22 October, 2019 at 12:00 AM Count : 724
Bangladesh Power development Board (BPDB) has submitted a fresh proposal for bulk power price hike to the Energy Regulatory Commission (BERC) to offset its huge deficit that would stand at Tk 8,608 crore in the next fiscal year.
"Yes, we submitted a proposal to the commission, however, we did not mention any amount or percentage there, we just presented our projected loss there mentioning the increased gas tariff issue," BPDB Chairman Engineer Khaled Mahmood told the media on Monday.
He said that the BERC has increased the gas tariff which will ultimately increase the production cost of electricity... so we submitted our plea to the commission to consider the issue.
Just one week back the BPDB officials in a day-long workshop (on October 12) said that there was no need to increase power tariff as the average production cost of power generation had decreased. It also claimed that the present cost of per unit electricity production is Tk 5.64; earlier, which was TK 6.16. And the PDB's decision to stop production from the high cost fuel-based power plants has played a great role to cut the cost. So, what happened now, a senior official asked.
In November 23, 2017 BERC increased power tariff of per unit of electricity by Tk 0.35 or 5.3 per cent on average, which came into effect from December1, 2017.
When contracted with BPDB officials, they claimed that they just presented a scenario to the BERC. "We told the BERC that by 2020 the state owned power generation authority would earn Tk 36,600 crore but to produce these amount of electricity, we need Tk 45,208 crore, we want to know from where we could get the amount."
When the BERC raised the prices of natural gas by 22.7 per cent on an average last year, that sparked widespread protests across the country; since then the power board is preparing a proposal for raising the retail prices of electricity as a reflection of the proposed bulk price hike, a board official said.
Commenting on the issue, energy adviser to Consumer Association of Bangladesh Shamsul Alam said that there were irregularities in power generation, transmission and distribution which also caused losses in power sector but the commission did not point finger to the issue, rather it passed the burden on the shoulders of the mass people.