After increasing prices of petroleum oil three times in six months, the government is raising consumer-level tariffs of power once again to balance with the bulk price hiked three months back.
Bangladesh Energy Regulatory Commission (BERC) chairman Syed Yusuf Hossain told bdnews24.com that the new retail price of power would be announced by December after public hearings on price hike proposals by distributors.
“It has become necessary considering the bulk power price increased in August,” he said.
According to the BERC chairman, the public hearing on the proposal of West Zone Power Distribution Company Limited (WZOPDCO) was held on Thursday while the same on the proposal of Power Development Board (PDB) will be held on Nov 17 and Dhaka Power Distribution Company Limited (DPDC) on Nov 24.
The new date of public hearing on the proposal of Dhaka Electric Supply Company Limited (DESCO), which was scheduled for Oct 20, is yet to be fixed. A public hearing was held in April among the associations under Rural Electrification Board (REB) on retail power price hike.
Following the hearing, BERC announced that the tariffs would be raised within a month. The commission, however, retreated from its decision amid massive criticism over increase in the price of compressed natural gas (CNG) in May.
Per unit power tariff was raised by 6.66 percent to Tk 2.81 from Tk 2.63 at bulk level from Aug 1. The government increased fuel prices on Thursday, for the second time in two months, by Tk 5 a litre to reduce subsidy on imports of petroleum products.
PROPOSALS OF SUPPLIERS
DESCO and WZOPDCO at an open meeting at the BERC office on Sept 18 sought approval from the commission to their retail power-tariff-hike proposals.
In the proposals, tariff increase up to 21.94 percent in the city areas and 18.99 percent in 21 districts in the south-western region was mooted. In another open meeting on Oct 5, PDB and DPDC proposed raising power tariffs — 21 percent and 11.93 percent per unit respectively.
They also proposed rise in the minimum, service and demand charges at the consumer level. The government on Feb 8 raised the average retail power tariffs by five percent to Tk 4.20 from Tk 4 from Feb 1.
Waste-based power plant on cards
For the first time, the government is going to set up a waste-based 50-megawatt (MW) power plant in the private sector. Local Government Division will place the proposal at the meeting of the cabinet committee on purchase on Sunday.
The LGRD ministry, after scrutinising the proposals of six companies, has recommended awarding the job to the lowest bidder Management Environment Finance SEL, Italy.
The government will purchase electricity from the company for 12.50 cents or Tk 8.75 per kilowatt. The agreement between the government and the company will be for 20 years and the company will run it on Build Own Operate (BOO) basis.
After signing the agreement, the company will implement the project with its own finance. Within three years it will implement the project. In 20 years, the government will have to pay the company Tk 6, 882 crore.
The plant will be set up on a piece of land within the area of Dhaka City Corporation (DCC) and waste generated within the DCC will be used by the plant.
The LGRD proposal said Dhaka city produces about 5,000 tonnes of waste every day. As the waste could not be managed properly, it has been polluting environment, especially land, water and air.
Electricity and organic fertilizer are produced from such waste in different countries. If Bangladesh goes for generating power from the waste on the one hand it will reduce power crunch and on the other the waste will get properly managed.
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