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Dhaka Tribune

PM for reducing electricity cost-price gap

Update : 09 Apr 2015, 08:55 PM

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina yesterday asked officials to adjust electricity prices to reduce the gap between the cost of production and the price of the utility.

During a presentation yesterday, the Power Development Board Chairman Md Shahinul Islam Khan said the production cost of electricity is higher than the price consumers are charged.

“The premier said this should not happen. She asked that prices be adjusted to diminish the gap,” an official who was present at the meeting quoted the prime minister as saying.

Hasina visited the Power, Energy And Mineral Resources Ministry at the Bangladesh Secretariat yesterday for the second time during the Awami League’s second consecutive term in office.

The Prime Minister’s Power and Energy Adviser Dr Tawfiq-e-Elahi Chowdhury, State Minister for Power, Energy and Mineral Resources Nasrul Hamid, Power Division Secretary Monowarul Islam and Energy Division Secretary Abu Bakar Siddique were, among others, present during the visit.

Hasina asked for Liquefied Petroleum Gas to be made available across the country at affordable prices within the next three years.

She said: “Seventy percent of households now have access to electricity. We will not need much time to deliver electricity to every household.”

But she directed officials not to approve new gas connections in residential areas.

Hasina issued 32 directives during her first visit to the ministry in her capacity as minister for power, energy and mineral resources on February 6, 2014. Of them, 19 were given to the Energy and Mineral Resources Division and 13 to the Power Division.

But a lack of coordination between the two divisions and their subordinate agencies stalled the implementation of the directives.

Yesterday, the prime minister asked for the unfinished tasks to be implemented.

She said twelve power plants were awaiting commissioning and work was under way to install large-scale coal-based power plants at Rampal and an Liquefied Natural Gas-based plant at Matarbari in Moheshkhali.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina emphasised the use of solar energy especially in shoals, hilly areas and islands since they are well situated to harvest the renewable energy source.

She said: “Solar energy is a great asset for us and it is available for all time. The initial cost of solar energy is a little high but in the long run, it is worthwhile.”

Hasina said all 21 economic zones to be established in the country will have their own power plants and land will be given to private investors to construct power plants.

“Each zone will also have a water body and will be connected to the grid to facilitate power transmission. Gas will be provided to the plants from the nearest gas fields,” she said.

“Agricultural land and industrial land should not be used for power plants. Solar panels can be set up on school buildings and offices which function mostly during the day time,” she added.

Pointing to progress in the construction of the country’s first nuclear power plant, she also said steps were being taken to purchase 500MW of power from India, setting an example of regional cooperation in the power sector.

The prime minister called for the proper operation of existing power plants and for the gradual replacement of older units to reduce consumption of gas and fuel. “It will enhance the efficiency of the power sector.”

Hasina asked officials to survey the country’s gas reserves and said more wells should be dug.

She laid emphasis on the fresh demarcation of gas blocks in the sea and the need to explore for new gas. “The sea is a vast place to explore for gas resources.”

“We will get oil from those wells. Steps should be taken to explore every natural resource,” she said.

Sheikh Hasina asked officials to divert a maximum amount of electricity to rural areas, saying the electrification of rural areas is crucial for developing small and medium enterprises.

“More electricity in the rural areas means more development for the country,” she said, calling for the strengthening of Palli Bidyut Samities, local associations under the umbrella of the Rural Electrification Board. 

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