Not quite leading by example
THE facts and figures quoted in a report published in New Age on Sunday make an interesting reading. According to the report, quoting an official report, although the government has launched a power-saving programme across the country, in the face of acute shortage of electricity supply, power consumption in three of the 11 different departments, agencies and companies in the power sector — the office of the energy adviser to the prime minister, the Power Development Board and the Electricity Generation Company of Bangladesh — has marked an increase of between 4 per cent and 25.55 per cent in the past one year; the rest have been able to cut down on their electricity use. Ironically, at a coordination meeting last month, the power board instructed all its departments, agencies and companies to ensure energy efficient equipment and suggested that they should keep the air-conditioners switched off for at least an hour during office hours, a Power Division official was quoted in the New Age report as saying. Not quite leading by the example, is it?
Not surprisingly, the three offices in question have been prompt to offer justification for the increase in electricity consumption. For example, the power board director claimed that a number of high officials and their subordinates, who deal with different priority sectors of the board, put in three to four hours of additional work every day as the volume of the board’s work has increased. ‘So, naturally the power consumption has increased,’ he reasoned. The pertinent question is if such additional efforts have any significant impact on the power management scenario. The power officials may offer as much facts and figures as they want in justification; however, the people at large are unlikely to be convinced. It is all the more so given the erratic power supply that seems to have become a regular feature in the people’s day-to-day lives. Suffice it to add, in some areas of the capital Dhaka, the residents have started to deem themselves fortunate if there is uninterrupted power supply for more than hour at a stretch.
Simply put, in the midst of a sustained electricity crunch, which has seems to have been compounded by the government’s flawed energy policy, the increase in power consumption by its departments, companies and agencies is bound to be construed as a mark of insincerity and complete disregard for the misery of the people at large. When the government called for energy austerity in 2010, suggesting that energy-efficient equipment should be used and air-conditioners should be kept above 25 degrees centigrade, the people certainly expected it to lead the way. Justified or not, the increase in power consumption by three offices in the power sector could very well seem to the people at large that the government definitely is not.
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