Published: Monday, August 26, 2013

Powered by AL

Govt succeeds in tackling electricity crisis but future still looks uncertain

Powered by ALBy implementing a record number of power projects in the last four years, the Awami League-led government has succeeded in overcoming electricity crisis, but could not end future uncertainty over uninterrupted   supply of electricity.
The government has added 3,870 megawatt power by implementing 55 projects during its tenure, which is a feat that outmatches success of all past governments in this sector.  Back in late 2006 at the end of the BNP- led alliance government’s tenure, the country generated 3,300 MW power and reeled from massive load shedding.
Now power supplies by the Power Development Board (PDB) are hardly less than the demands from customers.
But half of the successful projects are rental power plants generating about 1,921 MW power, most of which will go out of operation within this year and the next year, creating a void.
This should not pose as a problem since these rental projects were taken up for the interim period till the implementation of large power projects.
But execution of such large schemes is not that much assuring. Many big power projects supposed to come into operation next year and in 2015, have so far made zero progress.
The government has taken initiatives to add another 11,497 MW power between 2013 and 2018 to stay close to the increased power demand.
As per the PDB progress report, almost three dozen power projects having 6,981 MW capacity are now under implementation, half of which are in private sector.
The government expects to add another 1,329 MW power within this December, with one-third of that coming from more rental power projects.
Saturday’s inauguration of the gas-fired 412 MW Haripur combined cycle plant built by Marubeni is the biggest power project under this government.
A 150 MW plant in Khulna will also come into operation this month. By December, the existing Sirajganj 150 MW plant will be upgraded to generate another 75 MW.
Summit Power would be able to begin partial generation of power at its 335 MW Meghnaghat gas or fuel-based power plant in November from this year.
Besides, six rental power companies which missed their deadlines in the past are also supposed to add 472 MW power between this month and December. Some of these rental companies are owned by AL men and have missed their deadlines by up to two years.
Bibiyana phase two and three 450 MW power projects being implemented by Summit and Marubeni respectively would come into operation next year and 2015.
Summit’s other project — 450 MW Bibiyana phase one — is in the process of cancellation.
Local Orion group was awarded two large coal-based power projects in Khulna and Chittagong with a total production capacity of 630 MW in the middle of last year. But the company later sought the government’s permission to merge the two projects at one place –Khulna– for the sake of easy coal transportation and project’s cost effectiveness. The government has recently approved the merger, and Orion is purchasing land for this project that aims to start operation in 2017.
Orion is also purchasing land for another 522 MW coal-based power project in Mawa that would also come into operation in 2017.
Like Orion, Indian company Lanco is seeking government approval for  controversially relocating its 225 MW project from Bhola to Sirajganj. The project was originally aimed at utilising the Bhola gas field which is not connected to the national grid. It would be delayed by at least a year because of shifting of the site.
Besides, the government is awarding contracts or processing tenders of five public sector power projects (production capacity totalling 1,305 MW) and 14 private powers (total production capacity 2,669 MW). Among these, there are two 600 MW coal-fired projects.
In addition, seven other public sector projects, including the 1,320 MW Rampal coal-fired one, are making progress. These will add yet another 3,435 MW power.

  • SM

    Summit and Orion are JP Morgan and Rockefeller of Bangladesh. Oligarchs close to AL and grabbing the 1/3 power generation of the country. Unfortunately there will no anti-trust litigations against them.

  • truthprevails53

    That is a great achievement by the govt. Hopefully they will do some good work in their last few days in power.

  • Iftekhar Hassan

    Good job Awami League. People and businesses must accept the fact that, cost of electricity is not cheap. In many country it is more than 15 cents and more per kWH. In some country it 22 cents per kWH. Government should stop subsidising power cost to business and the rich people. Subsidy should only be given to farmers and low income people. Even If, business like garment factories in Bangladesh pays up to 15 cents per kWH or Taka 12, they can still be competitive. All they have to do is buy better quality machinery with latest technology that consume less electricity and be more productive. Old machinery from from 1960s technology from India, China, Japan and Europe is the culprits.

    Those arguing against rental power project given to ruling party supporter as corruption are simple jealous from success of enterprising people, who took risk and was smart. Because, government had no other alternative at that time for quick power generation. Some businessmen made money and let congratulate them. Because, they took very calculated risk and they were rewarded. That is what good businessmen do, take risk to make money. Freeloaders. over pessimist and cheap people, who always wants to freeload are simply jealous.

    It is far better than Khamba now Hawa project.

    • Shahabuddin

      Peoples of the country forgetting the miseries of power crisis they experienced. The country was almost a dark while BAL took power at the
      year 2008. Many of our intellectuals has been demonstrated against the Gov’s. initiates rental power to relive the people from darkness at that time. Now a days they are in silent, proves the projects are successful..

  • Shahin Huq

    These rental power plants should not be regarded as government success. These are temporary and there are many questions surrounding them. These rental power plants use government facilities free or with nominal charge, and the government has to buy electricity from them at a very high price. Thus, with the blessing of the government, the owners of these plants are embezzling public money.

    • progressiveBG

      I think it was an excellent and very unbiased article with detail fact. Congratulation Sharier Khan, good job indeed.

  • Zman7

    Kudos to the Daily Star and its Writer for this commendable presentation of informative facts about AL/government’s amazing success and progress in the power sector. I’m sure the nation is being benefited from this progress, and this excellent report would also be beneficial for the people in multiple ways.

  • Asad Uzzaman

    “Now power supplies by the Power Development Board (PDB) are hardly less than the demands from customers.” Really!! I am an owner of a factory in Chittagong. and yesterday my factory generator clocked 5.00 hours in an 8.00 hour shift from 2.30 to 10.30 pm. I am not sure where this reporter lives or works but unless the the Daily Star has with the government a special deal to supply uninterrupted power to it’s staff, this reporter is simply writing fiction!!

  • asad

    “Now power supplies by the Power Development Board (PDB) are hardly less than the demands from customers.” Really!! I am an owner of a factory in Chittagong. and yesterday my factory generator clocked 5.00 hours in an 8.00 hour shift from 2.30 to 10.30 pm.

  • Souvik

    Guys like you won’t let mine Fulbari, won’t let import electricity from India, won’t even let install nuclear power plants. how do u expect the govt. to solve the power crisis ?Power does NOT come from thin air.

    The so called “world” is turning away from it because they have the money, we don’t . Simple as that. There’s no way our people should pay 20X more for solar power when we have our own coal and we are one of the LEAST polluters.

    and let me teach u some basic economics as well. the opportunity cost of NOT installing rental power plants is much much higher than installing it. We r running low on gas but we r more energy hungry than ever before. We are one of goldman sachs “next 11″ and We need immediate power. And AL made the right decision ! Quick rentals were the best solution available.

  • Ash C.

    In spite of experiencing two load shedding of one hour each in a span of six hours in an area supposed to be having the least of this menace in Dhaka, I’d say ‘good job’ PDB as the report implies although I can not but say that you’re a fair-weather performer! The cost burden on the consumers? The least said the better. Nevertheless, the report should also have a cooling effect on the ruling party & take off some heat off TDS from the CEO!

  • agent_47

    1. on of the reason why its so chaotic in the streets of dhaka is because the drivers say “why should i follow the rules when others donot. how much more traffic can i cause and who care as long as i am out of it. ” you are giving me the same.

    2. its was my first post. “is not a sustainable solution”

    3. having more forex is not the objective of any government. its to use that fund in something good. and it is clear that government did not take FULL advantage of the forex.

    you are missing my point with your last statement. my point is it is not time of taking a break and saying i did this when nothing sustainable was done. sustainable being the key word. but yes things have improved in the short term, but economist call it short term for a reason.

  • Sara

    when temperature cools, would demand and supply be equal?… even after providing electricity to fertilizer plants?…

  • agent_47

    sounds about right. but i still think you are giving drawing bad conclusions on coal. no matter how small our contribution its still morally wrong. how can we ever expect others to follow the rules when we don do it. also China (3471Mt) and USA (1004M) (two of the heaviest coal user). india is the third highest user of coal (585Mt). these countries are the most arrogant countries in the world when it comes to fuel. just because there are two/three crooks in the world does not mean we have to pick up their trash bag behaviors

    regarding transport, i was not talking about size which is irrelevant if u ask me. the problem is breaking lanes, not stopping at signals. the human factors.

    also you have to consider that the coal BD has is the poorest kind, i.e. they produce larger proportion of CO2 compared to other coals. i think its called brown coal. and we did not even talk about the immediate environmental effects.

    my views with energy has nothing to do with AL, i think they did an admirable job, but the problem is with the article that celebrates a temp solution that only paves a way to coal.

    i donot know about indian policies or their resource situation but even if you are correct, there is still scope of trade via:

    1. law of economics, i.e. offer them more cash than the actual value to the indians.

    2. maybe india has a overall shortage of fuel, but in west Bengal it has extra fuel which it cannot utilize and hence can sell them to us.

    all this under the assumption that india is a reasonable country