Wednesday, 29 March, 2023

Power price hike concerning

That the government has increased the electricity price once again by five percent at the retail level and eight percent at the distribution company level – the second hike in 19 days and the third in two months – intending to retract subsidies from the power sector is very much concerning for the people since this tariff hike would impact the production cost and public will have to bear the brunt of further inflation. The people, especially the fixed- and lower-income groups, are already struggling with inflation and are reportedly cutting their diet chart to shrink family expenditure. The consecutive electricity tariff increase, as well as the gas price hike, will surely aggravate their living condition.
True enough that the global energy crisis and dollar crisis have compelled every government to make difficult decisions but in our country situation has become more complex just because of the failure and corruption of some officials and staff of the sector. They often for taking an easy and straightforward path of price hikes instead of reducing system loss and operating drive against illegal connections which would reportedly cover the cost that has increased. On the other hand, running plants with low inefficiency also increases the cost of production. Therefore, the weakness in the power sector needs to be assessed holistically for the best interest of all stakeholders instead of increasing tariffs only.
However, another shocking part is the government’s decision for adjusting the electricity price every month. If it is the case, how export-oriented businesses, who usually sign business contracts two or three months before product delivery, will fix the rate of their product is beyond our understanding. Therefore, the policymaker must come to a sense.
All of these decisions actually indicate the inefficiency of the policymakers who have to be blamed most because of their failure to make prior policies to make the country’s energy sector less import-dependent and diversified. While they failed to explore a single gas field in the last decade, the majority of our power plants are gas and oil-fired.
However, better late than never. There is no alternative to reducing import dependency on fuels to make the power sector stronger. Policymakers must take schemes to ensure uninterrupted power supply in the coming days that even at a reasonable price.