State Minister for Power, Energy and Mineral Resources Nasrul Hamid on Sunday urged industries to increase their power consumption during the off-peak hours as 4,000 MW surplus power in off-peak hours has now become a problem.
"Our demand for electricity drastically comes down after 11 pm, leading to a surplus of 4,000 MW power," he said while addressing a seminar at Westin Hotel in the city.
Federation of Bangladesh Chamber of Commerce and Industries (FBCCI) organised the seminar titled 'Highest Utilisation of Power to Achieve the Dynamic Growth' with its president Shafiul Islam Mohiuddin in the chair.
The function was also addressed by PM's Industries Adviser Salman F Rahman, Power Secretary Dr Ahmad Kaikaus, Power Development Board (PDB) chairman Khaled Mahmud, Rural Electrification Board (REB) chairman Moin Uddin and Sustainable and Renewable Development Authority (Sreda) chairman Helal Uddin.
Nasrul said the unconsumed power of off-peak hour now has been a big concern for the government as it has to pay a huge amount of money as capacity charge to the private generation companies.
The government plans to offer lower tariff for electricity consumption during the off-peak hours, he said adding that the government is now making its efforts for providing uninterrupted power supply to consumers.
"The DPDC has taken a $1.2-billion project to take electricity cable into underground and set up new substations," he said adding that the Prime Minister is expected to visit China in March or April next when deals will be signed for Chinese investment in this regard.
Mentioning that the government has moved to set up 108 special economic zones where uninterrupted gas and power supply will be ensured Nasrul Hamid urged the owners of industries to set up their industries in the special economic zones.
Nasrul also pointed out that the government has planned to generate 60,000 MW of power by 2040 for which about $120 billion will be required to invest. "But both the public and private sectors are unable to invest taking loan from local banks due to high interest rate of about 14 percent."
He drew attention of the PM's industries adviser for his effort to lower the bank interest rate by reducing the non-performing loans (NPLs).
Salman F Rahman said the government has taken a zero tolerance policy for which NPL will be coming down.
It requires huge private sector investment to go to the next level of economic development, he said.
PDB chairman Khaled Mahmud said the use of power during off-peak hours will be encouraged.
He said the government is now importing 1160 MW of electricity from India while another 2500 MW will be imported later from this neighbouring country.
FBCCI president Mohiuddin urged the government to make the public hearing on fixing power tariff an effective one. "The hearing should not be a camera trial one," he said.