No relief from power cut any time soon
As people continues to suffer through frequent load shedding in sweltering heat, we fear, the government assurance of relief from power cuts within September not only fell flat , but is likely to extend throughout October.
So far, regular load shedding management in Dhaka and other cities has been markedly poor. Moreover, the power cuts have been occurring around midnight over the past week despite the daily schedules released by the utility companies making no mention of load shedding after 11:00pm.
The promise made earlier to end load shedding in September was reportedly based on two factors.
First, policy makers and energy authorities concerned assumed that temperature would drop around this time of the year demanding lesser usage of electricity. They should have followed the erratic winter weather pattern triggered by climate change from the past three years.
Second, it was expected that the power transmission line from Payra Power Plant would be completed by September, but that has not happened either.
Against the backdrop of such uncertainty in ending countrywide load shedding, Bangladesh Energy Regulatory Commission (BERC) is all set to increase electricity prices by October 13. During a public hearing on May 18 of this year, BERC officials recommended to hike bulk electricity price by as much as 57.8 percent.
The first blow offered to our people was with an unexpected and unprecedented fuel price hike in august, now the second blow is likely to arrive with rising power price.
We leave it to the BERC authority to logically justify the upcoming price hike.
At the same time, pro-long load shedding merits the question, if it is a symptom of the country's energy insecurity?
In the long run, Bangladesh, similar to other countries, will now have to pay greater attention to its goal of energy security - in light of the changing global economic and political reality - and carefully balance the cost of rapid transition to cleaner sources of energy. In addition, our energy policy makers will have to re-evaluate and if necessary revoke some previous ineffective policies.
Load shedding, in whatever form may not fully deliver expected results. In megacity Dhaka or other major cities, commercial buildings automatically switch to their generators in the event of load shedding or power outages. People in many residential buildings in cities usually take advantage of small generator sets. These widely used small generators are not energy efficient.
Therefore, people have a critical role to play against the backdrop of the ongoing energy crisis. They need to bring about changes in their regular energy consumption pattern.
In conclusion, it is time to correctly assess respective advantages and disadvantages of different alternative energy pathways.