BERC holds public hearing on power price hike todayStaff Correspondent
The Bangladesh Energy Regulatory Commission holds a public hearing today on a proposal of the Bangladesh Power Development Board to increase the bulk rate of electricity by 11 per cent at which the power board will sell power to the distribution agencies.
The BPDB on March 12 proposed that the BERC should increase the bulk rate of power from Tk 3.74 kilowatt-hour, or one unit, to Tk 4.15 as the latest price increase of diesel and furnace oil by Tk 5.0 a litre had increased the overall power generation cost by Tk 0.41 per unit.
Officials of the power distribution agencies said they would attend the hearing
to raise their demand – either not to increase the bulk
rate or to allow them to increase the retail price justified by the increased expenditure – before the commission.
The other stakeholders including the Consumers Association of Bangladesh are also scheduled to participate in the hearing.
The energy commission in four phases since February 2011 has so far increased the bulk price of power by 57.80 per cent—from Tk 2.37 a unit to Tk 3.74—which had been adjusted by increasing the retail price by an average of 25.5 per cent.
People in Dhaka are now faced with power outages for six to seven hours a day while the rural consumers get electricity only for 10 to 14 hours a day.
The power outages are also hampering irrigation in the current boro season.
The government, immediately after assuming office in 2009, decided to buy power from fuel oil-fired rental power plants in its efforts to increase power generation in the shortest possible time.
In a chain reaction to the government’s policy for increasing power generation, the demand for fuel oils—diesel and furnace oil—has soared by 22 lakh tonnes a year, leading to a huge increase in subsidy to the sector.
The government in 2011 increased the diesel price by around 39 per cent in four phases and the furnace oil price by around 131 per cent in six phases to keep the subsidy on fuel oils within Tk 3,000 crore a year.
The government measures prompted the power board to increase the power price.
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