The government is planning to replace the act under which the Bangladesh Power Development Board (BPDB) has been operating for the last 45 years.
The draft BPDB Act, 2017 will effectively abolish the Bangladesh Power Development Boards Order, 1972, which is also known as the Presidential Order No.59 of 1972.
Sources told the Dhaka Tribune that a provision of the new law will enable the BPDB to export power generated within Bangladesh.
The BPDB will also be given the authority to establish joint venture companies in association with local and foreign agencies, and can form subsidiary companies.
However, some experts believe the BPDB should not have the authority to export power.
“I think keeping the provision to export power is inconsistent with the government's policy to supply power to every household,” Prof Shamsul Alam, energy adviser of the Consumers' Association of Bangladesh, told the Dhaka Tribune yesterday.
“Nepal is suffering from a power crisis since they export power. Bangladesh will face the same situation if the provision stays.”
Prof Shamsul urged the government to seek opinion from all stakeholders before enacting the new law, a process which he said “has not been done in several cases in the past”.
Power Division Joint Secretary Mohammad Alauddin said yesterday that the draft had already been posted on the Power Division website. He encouraged citizens to go through the proposed law and email their opinions within 15 days to [email protected]
“After we get the public opinion, we will forward the draft to all relevant ministries for their opinion. Following that, we will finalise the draft after discussing it with the officials of the ministry [Ministry of Power, Energy and Mineral Resources],” he said.
The proposed law contains 28 sections in eight chapters and is aimed at ensuring the smooth functioning of the country's power sector, which includes power generation, transmission and distribution.
The state-run entity will be responsible for initiating and implementing integrated plans to ensure proper usage and distribution of power.
The proposed law will give the BPDB the authority to make decisions without seeking the Power Division's approval under the Presidential Order No.59.
The board will comprise seven members, including its chairman. It will have the authority to purchase power from anyone who can generate it – including agencies, companies, independent power producers or rental power plants – as well as to sell the power to any agencies, companies or large consumers.
The new law would also empower the BPDB to initiate an export-import policy to conduct inter-country power trade as the representative of the government, according to the second chapter of the draft.
Earlier on July 31, the government approved the final draft of the Electricity Act, 2017 at a regular Cabinet meeting presided over by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, replacing the Electricity Act, 1910 which was implemented during British rule.
The new electricity law includes the provision of imprisonment for up to 10 years for sabotaging or destroying any power infrastructure.