Power outages turn worse in sweltering heatManjurul Ahsan
Frequent power outages have strained people’s lives in scorching summer heat with no signs the situation will improve soon.
Electricity consumers are experiencing power outage every alternate hour even on holidays when most of the industries, offices and educational institutions remain closed.
Power marketing agencies are struggling to cope with load management when there is an increasing demand for power in sweltering weather, officials said.
They said that the situation turned worse when technical glitches like transformer damage caused interruption in power supply.
The on-again, off-again power supply is also forcing people to take to the streets blockading highways and besieging local power offices in different divisional and district towns.
Fearing bigger demonstrations, the government has asked law enforcement agencies to ensure security of local power offices.
Shakil Anwar, a resident of Mirpur, said, ‘It is surprising that power goes off frequently even on holidays.’
Residents of Tejgaon, Badda, Rampura, Uttara, Mohammadpur, Dhanmondi, different areas of the Old Town, Jatrabari, Khilgaon and Bashabo in the capital made similar allegations.
According to the National Load Dispatch Centre, highest generation was estimated at 5,362MW on Saturday with a shortage of 1,000MW.
The demand, however, was much higher while the reliable capacity of power supply was lower than the official claims, said power board officials.
They said that only the Dhaka city was experiencing a shortage of around 1,000MW of power.
Dhaka Electric Supply Company managing director Mohammad Arjad Hossain said that the company was allocated 350-375MW of power to meet a demand for around 600MW.
He said the demand for power was increasing rapidly with the rise in temperature.
‘It will decrease to a tolerable limit for load management when in starts raining,’ he added.
Power Development Board is forced to keep shut a number of plants with a combined generation capacity of around 2,800MW due to shortage of fuels—oil, gas and water—and technical problems.
In addition, power board, which buys electricity from all generation companies, keeps a number of fuel-oil run power plants shut having a generation capacity of more than a thousand megawatts in day time to minimise its expenditure.
The power supply situation has also worsened in the rural areas.
New Age correspondents in different districts reported that consumers in rural areas remained out of electricity for 18 to 20 hours a day.
Power marketing agencies sometimes take several days to restore the distribution system once it collapses, they said.
Rural consumers are ignored most in these cases. It takes even a week to restore the power lines snapped by storms.
New Age correspondent in Sylhet reported that several hundred residents of Sadipur and Hatimbag blocked the Sylhet-Tamabil highway at Purba Shibganj in the city for two hours starting from 11:00am on Saturday protesting at the local power distribution agency’s negligence in repairing the transformer that remained inoperative since Thursday night.
PDB’s distribution wing chief engineer for Sylhet division ATM Zahirul Islam told New Age that it could take a day or even more to repair a transformer if the local office did not have spares.
He said that it happened due to the old power distribution system.
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