The government has once again raised the power tariff at the retail level on an average by 5.3 percent or Tk 0.35 per unit, a move that experts say will put more pressure on consumers.
Bangladesh Energy Regulatory Commission (BERC) announced the hike on Thursday.
The new tariff will come into effect from December. However, this hike will not affect the bulk power tariff.
The energy regulator announced the hike after hosting a series of public hearings from September 25 to October 5 on the tariff hike proposals placed by the power distributors.
BERC also held a special public hearing on a proposal forwarded by the Consumers Association of Bangladesh (CAB) for reducing bulk power tariff.
“Considering the proposals from the power distribution companies, we decided to raise the power tariff by 5.3 percent or Tk 0.35 per unit. This new tariff will come into effect from the billing month of December,” BERC chairman Monwar Islam said while announcing the hike.
He also said the energy regulator has lifted the minimum electricity bill which will reduce the power bills for 13 percent or 30 lakh lifeline consumers who use 0-50 units.
Nearly six million lifeline consumers under Bangladesh Rural Electricity Board (about 38 percent of the total user base) might not see any increase in their electricity bills, the BERC chairman said.
As per the new tariff rate, household consumers will have to pay Tk 4.00 per unit for a total monthly usage of 0-75 units.
Power users will have to pay Tk 5.45 per unit for using 76-200 units, Tk 5.70 per unit for 201-300 units, Tk 6.02 per unit for 301-400 units, Tk 9.30 per unit for 401-600 units and Tk 10.70 per unit for consuming more than 600 units a month. Besides, the lifeline household users (0-50 units) will be billed Tk 3.50 per unit. With the rise in power tariff, the irrigation pumps will be charged Tk 4.00 per unit.
As the reasons for not raising bulk power tariff, the BERC chairman said the government will inject subsidy amounting to Tk 3,600 crore in bulk power sector a year.
Earlier, Bangladesh Power Development Board (BPDB) proposed to raise bulk power tariff by 15 percent a unit. Besides, Bangladesh Rural Electrification Board (BREB), Dhaka Power Distribution Company Ltd, Northern Electricity Supply Company Ltd proposed the BERC to hike or coordinate the power tariff.
The government raised power tariff the last time on September 1, 2015 on an average by 2.93 percent.
CAB Energy Adviser Prof M Shamsul Alam at a recent function said the growing gap between the production cost and income from electricity is linked to the government’s faulty policy. Any decision to hike the retail power tariff will be illogical and against the public interest, he also said.