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BERC tilts to distributors ignoring public  

Published : Monday, 2 December, 2019 at 12:00 AM  Count : 238
Special Correspondent

Power Development Board (PDB) and Northern Electricity Supply Company (NESCO) said on Sunday that if the bulk tariff of electricity was not increased then they (both the companies) don't have any need to increase it at the consumers' level as they are already making profit by selling electricity to the consumers.
Both the state-owned power distribution companies on Sunday completely failed to come up with any exact figure of their loss to prove that they need to increase the tariff at the consumers' level, although the BERC observed that they would allow the companies to increase the tariff to offset their financial loss from Janury1 of 2020 before the start of the distributing agency hearing.
For taking part in the public hearing on power tariff hike, PDB and NESCO submitted their proposals to the Bangladesh Energy Regulatory Commission (BERC). PDB claimed that its expenses from next fiscal year would stand at Tk 1.05 for per unit, whereas, the BERC evaluation committee observed that it would be Tk 1.03.
NESCO's officials said that their cost of per unit electricity would stand at Tk 1.31 for the same time period, although BERC committee said it would be Tk 1.15.
"BERC is not examining the argument of power price hike proposals. They are engaged in fixing up the expenditures and loss and gain of the  power distribution companies. They are acting as if they are the advocate of the distributors. They do not discuss the logic of these hearings which would determine the new tariff chart and public fate as well as add to the inflation in the market," Dr Samsul Alam of CAB said at the hearing.
Usually what happens in public hearings? The distribution companies submit their pleas for next one year and the BERC technical committee suggests a price, but this time we have seen that the distribution companies are discussing their loss and expenditure issues. Where do the public stand? He asked.
"It has started from the gas price hike hearing, from then the Commission which was eager to justify and fix the per unit distribution cost of a company. They did not like to see the consumers' wellbeing or the market capacity of the price hike," he said.
The distribution agencies do not have any idea about the bulk price hike or how much it would be increased, but the BERC is taking up their issue strongly.
Taking part in the hearing, Commission Member Mizanur Rahman said, "We will pass through the bulk price amount at the consumer level directly and proportionately."

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