The coverage was only 47% in 2009
Bangladesh has edged close to cent percent electrification, as around 99.5% people have already come under electricity coverage, which was only 47% in 2009.
State Minister for Power, Energy and Mineral Resources Nasrul Hamid said: "Incredible success has been achieved in the electricity and power sector as we are supplying power to 99.5% of our population.”
Since 2009, the country has managed to generate an additional 20,293 megawatts of electricity, raising the total output to 25,235MW, he said.
"We're highly optimistic that the remaining 0.5% population will get electricity by this year," he added.
Nasrul said the government undertook a crash program in 2016 in line with Sheikh Hasina's initiative of providing electricity to every house project.
Under the project, the supply of electricity has to be ensured to every house by 2021, he said, adding that the project will be completed this year.
According to the latest data of Power Cell, the power generation capacity of Bangladesh now stands at 25,235MW, with power connections increasing to 40.7 million. The number of power plants is now 146. The government is now importing 1,160MW electricity from neighbouring India.
Power and energy experts said Bangladesh has already been included in the list of countries in South Asia that have brought 100% of people under electricity coverage.
According to the World Bank, Sri Lanka, Maldives and mountainous Bhutan brought all people under electricity coverage in 2019.
The Awami League had promised to ensure a comprehensive long term policy on electricity and energy and economic usage of oil, gas, coal, hydropower, wind power and solar energy before the national polls.
According to its promise, big and small power generation units, coal extraction, and oil and gas exploration are supposed to be given priority.
The government has already sent electricity to the off-grid population of Sandwip by installing submarine cables through the bottom of the sea.
People of the remote char Ramkantpur of Sujanagar in Pabna are also getting power that has changed their life standard as people there are running small scale rice mills, poultry farms and electricity-powered vehicles.
According to World Bank data in 2019, electricity coverage had reached 92.2% in Bangladesh, 97.2% in India, 73.9% in Pakistan and 97.7% in Afghanistan.
But now Bangladesh has brought 99.5% of its population under electricity coverage, while the rest of the people will come under its coverage within this year.
Talking to BSS, International Energy Consultant Khondkar Abdus Saleque Sufi said people's access to power across the country particularly in rural areas has a major positive impact on the agricultural economy.
"The use of modern machinery has increased in agricultural production. This has created new avenues of livelihood. However, if electricity becomes affordable and uninterrupted, it will contribute more to economic growth," he added.
Bangladesh has made significant progress in ensuring people's access to electricity as the power coverage reached 99.5% mainly because of the stronger political commitment of the Awami League government led by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, said an energy expert.
State Minister Nasrul said: "Access to quality and reliable electricity is no more a dream as the government has been working round the clock to make Bangladesh a developed nation by 2041”.