The technical evaluation committee of Bangladesh Energy Regulatory Commission (BERC) has recommended raising power tariff to the bulk level by Tk0.54 per unit instead of Tk0.87 proposed by the state-owned Power Development Board (PDB).
As the PDB is now getting Tk4.87 from the sale of a unit electricity, the committee has recommended increasing the price to Tk5.41.
The recommendation came on Monday after a public hearing on the PDB's proposal for hiking the electricity prices by 14.78% to minimise losses from supplying electricity to distribution companies at low prices. The hearing was held at the BERC office in Dhaka.
PDB submitted the price hike proposal to the BERC earlier on February 20. They then suggested hiking the price by Tk0.72 per unit.
During the hearing, PDB General Manager (commercial operation) Kawsar Amir Ali proposed hiking the price further to Tk0.72.
He said: “PDB got Tk4.90 selling a unit electricity in 2016. As the supply has increased, the proceeds from the sale has now dropped to Tk4.87 a unit.
According to the PDB proposal, it is necessary to raise power tariff to Tk5.59 from Tk4.87 now in the current fiscal year to bridge the gap in the wake of loss.
The PDB in its proposal said it purchases power from rental and IPP power plants, Electricity Generation Company of Bangladesh (EGCB) Ltd, Rural Power Company Limited (RPCL), Ashuganj Power Station Company Ltd (APSCL) and North-West Power Generation Company Limited (NWPGCL).
It sells power to its bulk consumers – Dhaka Power Distribution Company Ltd (DPDC), Dhaka Electric Supply Company Ltd (Desco), Rural Electrification Board (REB), West Zone Power Distribution Company Limited (WZPDCL), North West Zone Power Distribution Company Limited (NWZPDC) and to its retail consumers in its own distribution regions – at the price fixed by the BERC.
BERC Chairman Monowar Islam was present at the hearing also attended by BERC members Rahman Murshed, Md Mizanur Rahman, Md Abdul Aziz Khan and Md Mahmudul Haq Bhuiyan along with different stakeholders.
BERC is likely to announce new tariff rates of power by the end of November with effect from December 1, 2017, a director-level officer of BERC told the Dhaka Tribune on condition of anonymity.
Prof Shamsul Alam, energy adviser of the Consumer Association of Bangladesh (CAB), at the hearing opposed the BERC move to raise power tariff.
Shamsul Alam said BERC has the sole authority to refix prices of liquid fuel and electricity, but the Energy Division fixes prices of liquid fuel violating the laws. Based on that re-fixed slab, the price hike of electricity will be “illogical and irrelevant” as the power plant runs with those liquid fuel, he said.
Prof Alam said PDB will only be the sole authority to sell the bulk electricity at 132kV level.
Saleque Sufi, an energy expert, said the power sector's Master Plan prepared in 2010 is erroneous as it says oil-run power plants will be 5%, but it is now 32% for which the government is “compelled to raise power prices.”
During the hearing, protesters from leftist parties, including CPB and Gono Songhoti Andolon staged a sit-in outside the BERC premises.
Meantime, the BERC will conduct a public hearing today on the proposal made by the PDB to increase tariff at retail level.
The BERC will also conduct a public hearing tomorrow on the REB's proposals to raise tariff.