The Power Development Board (PDB) has asked the Bangladesh Energy Regulatory Commission (BERC) to form a new tariff category for drivers and owners of battery-operated vehicles.
PDB General Manager (commercial operation) Md Kawsar Amir Ali made the proposal at a BERC public hearing on Tuesday in order to bring the ‘green’ vehicles including auto-rickshaws under existing regulation.
The BERC technical evaluation committee backed the proposal, which sets a distinct price figure for battery-operated vehicles of Tk7.25 against consumption of per unit electricity. The service charge was proposed at Tk25 for a one-phase line and Tk40 for a three-phase line.
“More than 500,000 electricity-powered easy-bikes or battery operated auto-rickshaws operate across the country consuming more than 450MW of electricity per day,” PDB Director AHM Taslim Hossain said during the hearing.
Easy-bikes or auto-rickshaws have a set of five batteries with a capacity of 60V, which consume 1kW of electricity daily and take 4-5 hours to be fully charged.
“Most of the easy-bikes or auto-rickshaws are currently charging batteries from household connections,” Taslim Hossain said. “The easy bike owners are consuming the electricity in minimum price as it is being taken from household connections, but if we can set a tariff, they will come into a regulation.”
Separately, the Power Development Board has also proposed to create another two new categories: multi-storied or society-operated buildings and temporary electricity connections for consumers.
PDB proposed to set the price figure for the multi-storied or society-operated buildings at Tk7.80 per unit, while the service charge for one-phase line was proposed at Tk25 and for three-phase Tk40.
PDB has also proposed to fix the price figure for the temporary connections at Tk10.30 per unit, while the service charge for one-phase line was proposed at Tk100 and for three-phase Tk300.
The PDB official also proposed to raise security money, demand and service charges for all category consumers.
On March 7, 2017, PDB sent a proposal to the BERC seeking hike in retail price of electricity by Tk0.98 per unit (kilowatt-hour).
It is necessary to increase the retail power tariff to Tk7.71 per unit from Tk6.73, the proposal stated.
“Right now, we need to increase the retail tariff by around 3% to cover our deficit of Tk0.21 per unit. If the bulk price is increased, the retail tariff will have to be hiked 14.56%,” the proposal says.
PDB is currently distributing electricity in Chittagong, Comilla, Sylhet and Mymensingh city areas.
During the hearing, the technical evaluation committee has recommended raising power tariff at retail level by Tk0.75 per unit instead of Tk0.98 proposed by the state-owned PDB.
As the PDB is now getting Tk6.73 from the sale of a unit of electricity, the committee has recommended increasing the price to Tk7.48.
The recommendation came after the Tuesday’s hearing on the PDB’s proposal to increase electricity prices by 14.56%. The proposal aims to minimise losses being incurred from power supply to consumers at lower prices.
Prof Shamsul Alam, energy adviser of the Consumer Association of Bangladesh (CAB), at the hearing, said: “It is necessary to resolve the problem of bulk tariff first, and then others. If bulk tariff is not raised, then there is no need to raise retail prices.”
PDB admitted to have a minimum necessity of hiking retail prices, but if the accountability or proper supply is ensured, there will be no need to increase prices at retail level.
BERC Chairman Monowar Islam was present at the hearing that was also attended by BERC members Rahman Murshed, Md Mizanur Rahman, Md Abdul Aziz Khan and Md Mahmudul Haq Bhuiyan along with different stakeholders.
The BERC is set to another public hearing today (Wednesday) on the proposal of Rural Electrification Board to raise retail tariff.