Consumer rights groups, business bodies and left-leaning political parties on Monday opposed the power tariff hike proposal and urged the government to reduce the bulk power tariff scrapping the hike plan.
“It’s unfair to raise the bulk power tariff after the major flood that caused immense crop losses and shot up essential prices,” they said.
They also criticised Bangladesh Power Development Board’s moves for adopting costly electricity generations, leaving behind the cost-effective options.
They raised its voice against the move to raise power tariff hike at the first day of the weeklong public hearing initiated by Bangladesh Energy Regulatory Commission (BERC) at TCB auditorium in the capital.
On the first day of the hearing, the Power Development Board (PDB) placed its proposal to raise power tariff by 22.24 percent or Tk 1.09 per unit at On the first day of the hearing, the Power Development Board (PDB) placed its proposal to raise power tariff by 22.24 percent or Tk 1.09 per unit at bulk level.
Currently, the bulk tariff of electricity is Tk 4.90 per unit. The PDB seeks to raise it to Tk 5.99 per unit.
BERC Chairman Monowar Islam chaired the hearing which was attended, among others, by PDB Chairman Khaled Mahmood, Fazle Hossain Badsha MP, Energy Adviser of the Consumer Association of Bangladesh Prof Dr Shamsul Alam, Gono Shanghati Andolon Chief Coordinator Joniad Shaki, Bangladesh CNG Filling Station & Conversion Workshop Owners Association Joint Secretary Md Hasin Parves, Energy Expert Saleq Sufi, academician Dr Jabunnesa of Jahangirnagar University, West Zone Power Distribution Company Managing Director Shafiqur Rahman and the members of BERC.
At the hearing, Prof M Shamsul Alam criticized the government’s move to go with costly diesel-fired plants and expansion of rental and quick rental plants.
He also said the government could have saved Tk 6342.88 crore if it would have taken up more cost-effective power plant projects in Meghnaghat, gas-fired public-sector plants instead of rental and quick rental plants and rationalised the capacity payment during the extension of private power plants in FY 2015-16.
“Power tariff could be brought down by Tk 1.26 per unit if these initiatives were adopted,” he argued.
The CAB leader also said power tariff should be cut to Tk 3.58 a unit from Tk 4.90 in the next two years.
Speaking at the hearing, Fazle Hossain Badsha MP of Workers Party said, “A rise in power tariff will be an injustice to the consumers since they have already faced major flood that damaged vast croplands.”
Besides, over 400,000 Rohingya refugees fled into Bangladesh as part of an international conspiracy, he added, adding “It is not a good time to raise the power tariff,” he said.
The proposal for power tariff hike is illogical as it will shoot up inflation, Gono Shanghati Andolon Chief Coordinator Joniad Shaki said.
Md Hasin Parves, joint secretary of CNG refuelling station owners’ platform, said a fresh power hike will further increase the cost of doing business at the CNG stations.
The BERC technical evaluation committee has earlier suggested raising the bulk tariff by Tk 0.57 a unit.
PDB said 67 percent of the electricity generation cost is incurred by fuel. It said power generation cost will come down if fuel prices drop in the international market.