Utility services of unauthorised commercial buildings to be cut off

Staff Correspondent

14 March, 2021 12:00 AM printer

State Minister for Power, Energy and Mineral Resources Nasrul Hamid on Saturday said the government will server the utility services of the residential buildings that are being used for commercial purposes in violation of the rules of Rajdhani Unnayan Kartripakkha (RAJUK).

“We’ve already asked for identifying the unapproved commercial buildings and cut the electricity supply to those…the buildings will be deprived of natural gas and water as well,” he said.

The state minister was speaking at a webinar styled ‘Uninterrupted and Reliable Underground Electricity Supply in Dhaka’ organised by Forum for Energy Reporters Bangladesh (FERB) as the chief guest.

Power Division Secretary Md Habibur Rahman spoke at the programme as a special guest.

Nasrul Hamid attributed the mounting system loss in the power sector to unplanned and undeveloped electricity supply system. "Hotels, restaurants and many businesses are using electricity taken from household connections. We’ve started to identify whether those were constructed as residential or commercial ones as per the RAJUK rules."

He also urged the authorities of all malls and shops to follow the RAJUK rules.

The state minister said different steps are being implemented to bring the entire power sector under digitisation to ensure better services for customers.

The steps include Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA), Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), smart grid, smart metre, Geographical Information System (GIS) mapping, underground cabling, underground substations, prepaid metring system, new connection through online and net metring guidelines, he said.

“Smart prepaid metres will give customers relief from billing-related hassle,” Nasrul Hamid said.

Mentioning that Tk 60 billion in electricity bill and Tk 90 billion in gas bill remained outstanding, he said customers will have to co-operate with the government with responsibility.

Power Division Secretary Md Habibur Rahman said the whole country has come under electrification except isolated chars and hilly areas, which is more than 99 per cent in total.

Off-grid areas will be electrified in the Mujib Barsho, he said, adding that the government is working relentlessly to provide uninterrupted quality electricity.

“Installing prepaid metres can ensure quality service for customers and we’re working to ensure prepaid metres as soon as possible,” the secretary said.

Within the next 1-1.5 years, everyone will be brought under the prepaid metres, he said.

Prof Ziaur Rahman Khan of Bangladesh University of Engineering Technology suggested that a campaign is carried out to raise awareness among people about the electricity use.

He also said proper planning is needed to ensure a smooth underground power system as underground projects are expensive than the conventional ones.

First Vice-president of Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association Mohammad Hatem underscored the need for keeping experts and experienced people in the policy-making body of the power sector, saying it will definitely help the sector overcome the policy-related issues.

Mentioning that voltage fluctuation is one of the leading reasons that led them to the use of the captive power system, he said the captive power takes a huge toll on them.

President of Bangladesh Shop Owners’ Association Md Helal Uddin said although underground cabling projects are really appreciated, those are causing damage to gas and water lines as the extraction is not done properly. “So, subscribers are paying the price.”

Managing Director of Dhaka Power Distribution Company (DPDC) Bikash Dewan and Dhaka Electric Supply Company Limited (DESCO) Managing Director Md Kausar Ameer Ali presented keynote papers at the programme.