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Fresh price chart of electricity soon

Published : Friday, 21 February, 2020 at 12:00 AM  Count : 206

Bangladesh Energy Regulatory Commission (BERC) is set to publish fresh price chart of electricity soon as it has completed all necessary tasks in this regard.
"Following the public hearing on tariff hike issue (held from November 28-to December 3, 2019), the BERC has started talks with different stakeholders and political high-ups in this regard, a senior official of the BERC told the Daily Observer on Wednesday.
This week it sat with the Energy Adviser Dr Tawfiq-e-Elahi Chowdhury Bir Bikram and State Minister for Power, Energy and Mineral Resources Nasrul Hamid to incorporate theirs opinion," he said.
BERC sources said the lifeline consumers (who consume 0-50 units) may get electricity at a subsidized price of 50 percent of the production cost. But in case of big consumers, the price will increase maximum 20-30 percent of the production costs.
The price of per unit electricity is Tk 7.31 without subsidy. But system loss and capacity payment are included in it. The BERC is in favour of giving subsidy of half of the production cost to marginal consumers.
The BERC had increased retail power tariff by Tk 0.35 or 5.3 per cent in November, 2017.According to BERC sources, people who consume electricity from 0 to 50 units are going to remain as lifeline consumers this time also.
Among 3 crore 60 consumers across the country, 1.5 crore consumers pay in lifeline tariff. As a result, the hike of electricity price will not be a headache for 1.5 crore consumers.
But big consumers will not get any subsidy. Consequently, they have to pay 20-30 percent more than the production costs. On the other hand, charitable organizations, hospitals, mosques and temples will get subsidy as earlier.
In December last the BERC has completed its public hearing on power tariff  as Bangladesh Power Development Board (BPDB) has submitted a fresh proposal for bulk power price hike to offset its huge deficit that would stand at Tk 8,608 crore in the next fiscal year.
"It was said that the present cost of per unit electricity production is Tk 5.64; which was TK 6.16 earlier. According to the CAB the power production cost has been increased as BPDB is producing electricity from the high-cost rental and quick rental power projects," CAB's Energy Adviser Professor Dr Shamsul Alam said.
This time we set our arguments on that line. If the BPDB allowed the high-cost plants then it is the responsibility of the BPDB or government to maintain the cost. Why will people pay for it? he asked.
During the hearing, BPDB officials said 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 this amount of electricity, we need Tk 45,208 crore. Where could we get the amount from? They asked.
Commenting on the issue, CAB leader said 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 to the shoulders of the mass people.
"For meeting the country's energy demand for 22,000 MW from 4000 MW plus, the government could have installed a power plant almost every month… the state-owned power Development Board (PDB) had to face a deficit of TK 8500 but pay TK 15,000 crore as capacity payment (capacity payment is the amount of money that the government is to pay to the power plants sitting idle because of no electricity demand) in 2019 for the power plants it started in 2012, Shamsul Alam said.
 "Half the increased capacity remains unused inflating the public expenditure for the power sector while people are to face increased tariff rate due to this unplanned power generation plan," he added.

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