Speakers at a seminar on energy pricing said that the energy regulator should pay more attention to the concerns of the consumers and industries in fixing prices of power and petroleum and maintain rationality in the pricing mechanism.
“The rationality of Bangladesh Energy Regulatory Commission (BERC) in its price increase should be understandable to the people and the government should give more authority to the regulators in this regard”, said Dr. Ahsan H. Mansur, executive director of Policy Research Institute of Bangladesh (PRI) while responding to question from audience.
Dr Mansur made a keynote presentation at the seminar at International Convention Centre City, in the city.
With energy secretary Abu Hena Md. Rahmatul Muneem in the chair, the seminar was also addressed, among others, by Power Development Board chairman Khaled Mahmud, BERC member Mizanur Rahman, Petrobangla chairman Abul Monsur Mohammad Foyejullah, Bangladesh Petroleum Corporation (BPC) chairman Mohammad Akram Al Hossain, energy advisor of Consumers Association of Bangladesh (CAB) Prof Shamsul Alam and Bangabandhu Chair Professor at Asian Institute of Technology (AIT) Dr. Joyashree Roy. Zarif Munir, Partner and MD, BCG Malaysia, moderated the seminar.
Dr Mansur said the country’s present challenge is providing power and energy at an affordable price.
“Huge pressure for price increase is coming up as there is no possibility of coming of any coal-based power plant before 2021. Still there are a big number of fuel-fired power plants in operation with huge cost”, he said.
He also suggested for allowing private sector more in power and petroleum business with maintaining strong monitoring to check any monopoly.
PDB chairman Khaled Mahmud said now 25 percent of power is being generated from liquid fuel which was 5 percent in 2009.
He informed that the PDB has to incur Tk 0.60 per unit in the sale of electricity and until last fiscal year 2017-18, the PDB received Tk 41,000 crore as loan from the government to cover the loss. “This has a big impact on our balance sheet,” he said.
"But now we’re receiving such support as grant from the government”, he added.
Prof Shamsul Alam said BERC lacks transparency in its decision making process as the power tariff fixed by the regulators never reflect the proceedings of public hearing.
He said it will be always unfair to fix a power tariff without considering the electricity cost of off-grid consumers.
Petrobangla chairman Abul Monsur Mohammad Foyejullah said the government is yet to officially raise gas price although LNG is being imported at higher price.