Illegal power sources light most makeshift shopsStaff Correspondent
Makeshift shops in Dhaka, other cities and big towns keep using electricity through illegal connections for several hours every evening causing an increase in its demand during peak hours, hawkers and power distribution agency officials said.
Distribution agencies do not get the price of the electricity consumed by hawkers although they spend much more than the tariff set by the agencies, they said.
They said that as Ramadan began, footpaths in cities and most district towns started swarming with hawkers, who steal electricity.
Hawkers at Sat Masjid Road, Mirpur Road, Sadarghat, Kamlapur railway station, Paltan, Farmgate, Karwan Bazar and Uttara, however, initially said that they sourced their power connections from nearby shops having meters or small generators.
Clusters of makeshift shops for selling tea, confectionery, fruit, clothes, shoes, electronic products and so on have been set up in and around bus stops, bus and launch terminals, railway stations, shopping complexes, hospitals and educational institutions.
Syndicates backed by local political parties with linesmen of power distribution agencies have developed a ‘business’ of providing such makeshift shops with illegal connections for a very high rate, Tk 10 to Tk 30 or more, for each bulb for 5 to 10 hours’ lighting.
A bulb of 60 watt, however, consumes up to 0.6 kilowatt-hours or a unit of electricity which could cost in the maximum Tk 6 in keeping with the present power tariff structure.
Despite regular drives against such connections when they are snapped, the connection s restored almost immediately after the vigilance teams leave the place.
The Power Development Board’s chief engineer for Sylhet division ATM Jahirul Islam Mazumder told New Age, ‘It is too tough to bring makeshift shops under legal connections as they are not permanent. In addition, they restore the electric supply immediately after we snap the connections.’
The Dhaka Power Distribution Company’s director Md Mizanur Rahman said that power pilferage had reduced significantly, particularly in cities. ‘The system loss would not have, otherwise, dropped below 10 per cent,’ he said.
Mizan also said that hawkers usually take connections from nearby shops or houses having meters.
It is, however, not possible to check the pilferage all the time, everywhere, Mizan added.
The PDB, the DPDC, the Dhaka Electric Supply Company, the Rural Electrification Board and the West Zone Power Distribution Company distribute electricity through meters across the country.
Distribution agency officials said that such demand for power was totally unidentified, which creates serious problems during load management with the financial loss of the agencies.
The demand for power in peak hours, between 6:00pm and 11:30pm, increases sharply by up to 30 per cent every day.
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