Nasrul blames transmission inefficiency for power supply issues

Special Correspondent

9 May, 2021 12:00 AM printer

State Minister for Power, Energy and Mineral Resources Nasrul Hamid said there is a big difference between the country’s power generation capacity and the transmission.

“We could only transmit maximum 14,000 MW of electricity even keeping all the plants including the rental (this summer). This means there is a big difference between the generation capacity and the transmission,” he said at a webinar on “Upcoming National Budget FY 2021-2022: Expectations of Power Producers” on Saturday as the chief guest. 

The transmission was much less than the generation capacity of 25,171 MW.

He urged the distributors to be more efficient in transmission. “I think you have to be more efficient in transmission, so soon,” the state minister said.

Forum for Energy Reporters Bangladesh (FERB) organised the event.

Nasrul Hamid also asked the Power Division to review the power system master plan to improve the electricity supply in the country. He hoped that the tax issues in power sector could be resolved with the help of all others including the NBR.

He said, “The government gives subsidy to keep the electricity prices affordable for all people. I would say it investment. But the Power Division should think of how they could come out of it and make them self-reliant, and efficient.”

Hamid emphasized that the companies and organizations in the power sector should invest more to supply more electricity at affordable prices and in more efficient manner. “The companies should invest more, be more efficient and adopt newer technologies,” he stressed.

Bangladesh Power Development Board Chairman Engr. Md. Belayet Hossain said, “Uninterrupted power supply is a prerequisite to economic development. Despite this fact, we have so far failed to make BPDB commercially viable.”

He said the PDB had to sell electricity at lower prices to the people than it purchased. “Even still year, the difference between PDB’s power purchase price and selling price is Tk 1.16 per unit this year,” Hossain said. He said the government had to subisidise Tk 7,000 to Tk 8,000 crore every year to make up the gap between the purchasing rate from private power plants and selling rate.  “This year it my rise further,” he feared. The government needs to supply electricity to people at affordable prices while the private plants set prices taking profits into consideration.

“If the government can bring a win-win situation coordinating between the private and public sectors, this will benefit the power sector,” BPDB chairman observed.

He said the economic growth was good last year despite the pandemic, on which, the power sector had a great contribution.

Last year, the budget in power sector was Tk 26,758 crore, which helped the development of power sector continue.

He said the private power producers are the important partner in our power sector. “I hope their reasonable expectations will reflect in the budget.” 

Power Secretary Md Habibur Rahman expressed his solidarity with the demands made by the independent power producers.

He said, “We want to work together for the development of power sector.”

FERB Chairman Arun Kormokar said the government could get rid of idle power plants by closing rental, quick rental and inefficient power plants as per the deals. 

President of Independent Power Producers (IPP) Imran Karim, Power Cell Director General Mohammed Hossain also spoke on the occasion. Md Mozzammel Hossain presented key-note paper at the webinar. FERB Executive Director Shamim Jahangir moderated the event.