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Govt to cut fuel import by 20pc; Area-based load shedding from today

  • Special Correspondent
  • 19th July, 2022 09:45:29 AM
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Govt to cut fuel import by 20pc; Area-based load shedding from today

The government has decided to cut the import of fuel, particularly diesel, by 20 percent as an austerity measure to save dollars and keep its foreign reserves stable.

State Minister for Power and Energy Nasrul Hamid told this at a press conference on Monday after the review meeting on the power and energy supply situation at Prime Minister’s Office.   

Bangladesh’s foreign reserves now stand at around $39 billion. 

Prime Minister’s Energy Adviser Dr Tawfiq-e-Elahi Chowdhury, Energy and Mineral Resources Division’s senior secretary Md Mahabubur Rahman, Power Secretary Md Habibur Rahman, BPC chairman ABM Azad and senior officials attended the meeting chaired by Prime Minister’s Principal Secretary Dr Ahmad Kaikaus.

As part of the austerity measures, the government will cut diesel consumption by 10 percent by shutting 1100MW diesel-based plants. Besides, another 10 percent will be cut from the transport sector.

“We have already asked Bangladesh Petroleum Corporation (BPC) to calculate the actual figure to save dollars by reducing diesel consumption,” Nasrul said.

Besides, the public and autonomous organizations’ meetings will also be held via virtual platforms to save transportation costs, according to him.

Public servants will also be asked to share their vehicles during office hours, he said.    

“We would start area-based load shedding tomorrow (Tuesday) on an experimental basis for a week,” he said.  Then, it may be extended another one hour.

The government has also decided to shut the shopping malls at 8:00 PM. “We may cut electricity connections if any mall fails to follow this directive.”

Local natural gas output dropped to 2300mmcfd from 2700mmcfd and LNG import also declined to 500mmcfd from 850mmcfd due to unprecedented tariff hike, Nasrul Hamid said.

The natural gas and fuel shortfall will cause 1500MW of electricity deficit, according to him.

Nasrul also urged the mosques and other religious establishments to conserve electricity. “Please shut your AC after the prayers at the mosques.”

The BPC will also sit with petrol pump owners to keep the pumps closed one day a week, he informed.

He said the industrial units will get priority for electricity supply.

According to meeting sources, the government will introduce load shedding mostly at 11kv feeders whereas 33kv feeders may get uninterrupted electricity as most of the industrial connections are there.

So, villagers will get half of the load shedding against the total supply of electricity, meeting sources said.

On the other hand, Petrobangla will intensify drives against illegal gas connections.

The government may also cut office time by two hours and introduce work-from practice for government staff in a week, sources said.

Besides, the government may also propose to introduce two days of school holiday, sources also said.