REGULATION | Cesar Tordesillas, India

Bangladesh raises power tariff for bulk consumers

The Bangladesh Energy Regulatory Commission raised power tariff by 6.6 percent for bulk consumers in the country.

Syed Yusuf Hossain, chairman of the BERC, said the bulk level tariff hike is due to the import of high cost furnace oil, initiatives to reduce system loss and efficiency increment, etc.

 According to the new rate, the tariff of each unit of electricity at the bulk level will be 2.80 taka from the existing 2.63 taka.

In February this year, the BERC raised the bulk price of each unit of power to 2.63 taka from 2.37 per unit earlier.

The state-owned Power Development Board, the authority for planning, construction and operation of power generation and transmission facilities throughout Bangladesh, had earlier sought to raise the bulk electricity tariff by 12 percent every six months or by an annualized rate of over 25 percent for up to 2013.

The bulk tariff is applicable only for the power distribution agencies who buy electricity from the PDB for their retail consumers.

Meanwhile, the state-owned power distributors including the Dhaka Electric Supply Company, made a plea to the energy regulator to raise the retail level power tariff proportionately. The commission is reportedly mulling to increase power tariff at the retail level this month.

The bulk level power tariff hike, however, evoked criticism from industrialists and businessmen, who said the government could have waited as the country has been suffering from an acute power crisis for long.

"We're already in difficult situation as cost of production increased due to our more dependency on diesel-run generators to cope with frequent power cuts," an export oriented readymade garment factory owner said but preferred to be unnamed.

"The bulk level power tariff hike sends a firm message to us that the retail level power tariff hike is imminent. It means a more difficult situation for us in the near future," he added.

Bangladesh's all power plants on July 31 generated 4,505 MW power against the day's demand of about 5,490 MW, according to a PDB statement.

But on condition of anonymity, a PDB official said the gap between power demand and supply is unofficially more than that mentioned in the statement and added that some power plants are generating far less than their capacity due to inadequate gas supply.

The full story is available at Xinhua News.

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