July 17, 2024, 3:57 pm


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Published:
2019-12-23 22:18:25 BdST

Power tariff hike from Jan 01 not lawful: CAB


FT ONLINE

Consumers Association of Bangladesh (CAB) has opposed a government move to raise power tariffs from January 01, terming it 'unlawful and against consumers'.

It said Bangladesh Energy Regulatory Commission (BERC) has allowed high-cost but low-efficient rental/quick rental plants to produce power through misusing the 'Gas and Electricity Development Fund'.

The agency made its opposition at a press conference convened at Dhaka Reporters' Unity on Sunday.

CAB president Golam Rahman, secretary Humayun Kabir Bhuiyan, power-related complaint enquiry and research committee president Syed Abul Maksud, energy adviser Prof Dr. Shamsul Alam and member Prof Badrul Imam spoke.

Urban planner Mubasshar Hussein, among others, also addressed the programme, according to a release.

CAB adviser Mr. Alam said Bangladesh Power Development Board (BPDB) and six state-run power distributors are proposing a rise in retail power tariff from 2020.

BPDB has also sought to raise bulk tariff and another leading power distribution company has proposed to increase the wheeling charge from next year.

The bulk tariff is the rate at which BPDB procures power from various power plants.

Purchase rates are calculated for each power plant and details of the rates are given in each power purchase agreement (PPA).

A wheeling charge is a currency per megawatt-hour amount that a transmission entity receives for the use of its system.

At a recent public hearing, Mr. Alam said, they failed to comment on the use of 'Gas and Power Development Fund', decide on high-cost power projects and the status of the Rural Electrification Board (REB) and BPDB.

The BERC allows these state-owned organizations to make money through selling electricity to the consumers as all these things breach the BERC Act.

Aiming to increase the power tariff from the first day of 2020, it opens the public hearing on bulk price.

In its submission, the BPDB seeks to offset its huge deficit that would stand at Tk 86.08 billion in the next fiscal year. Mr. Alam said the government entity failed to prove such losses at the public hearing.

BPDB general manager Md Kausar Ameer Ali told the hearing that bulk power transmission cost was Tk 5.83 in the fiscal year 2018-19 against the bulk tariff rate of Tk 4.77.

As a result, the BPDB faced a loss of more than Tk 68 billion in the last fiscal.

Mr. Alam claimed all these figures are 'non-realistic or fake' as the BPDB is paying Tk 21.76 billion in capacity payment to the costly rental plants.

On the other hand, he said, the government did not announce that BPDB and REB are run by the company law.

"So, why does BERC think that both the organizations should be profit-making entities?" he questioned.

Mr. Alam said their research found illogical expenditure of Tk 105.49 billion by the state-run power sector, including the capacity charge for rental plants, expenditure from the Power Development Fund.

CAB proposed to adjust such spending with the proposed deficit by the government entities and readjust both prices of retail and bulk electricity, its distribution and generation charges.

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