The Bangladesh Energy Regulatory Commission (BERC) is expected to announce higher prices of bulk and retail electricity in the third week of November.
A meeting was held at the Prime Minister’s Office on Thursday morning about adjusting the power tariffs.
Prime minister’s Power and Energy Adviser Tawfiq-e-Elahi Chowdhury presided over the meeting while State Minister for Power, Energy and Mineral Resources Nasrul Hamid, BERC Chairman Monowar Islam and its members were present.
Following the meeting, to determine the commission’s action plan, BERC Chairman Monwar and the members held a day-long meeting at the commission office in Karwan Bazar.
“We sat in a meeting with prime minister’s power and energy adviser on how to finalise new power tariffs. We hope that we will be able to announce it within a short time,” BERC Chairman Monowar Islam told the Dhaka Tribune.
Seeking anonymity, a commission member told the Dhaka Tribune that BERC is preparing two sets of new power tariff plans for bulk and retail levels. One set is a proposal made during a public hearing by power distribution agencies and companies that would see 3-4% increase of power tariff at retail level.
And the second set proposes that the government could give subsidy to the power distribution agencies and companies without increasing tariff, he said.
He said they were thinking of increasing the tariff as state-owned electricity distributor Rural Electrification Board (REB) is currently running massive losses.
REB is expected to lose around Tk1,400 crore in the current fiscal year if its retail prices are not raised.
The REB supplies power to homes, irrigation pumps and charitable organisations, which make up 92% of its all consumers, at Tk4.62 per unit although the cost of that power is Tk6.78.
The rest of the consumers, who include commercial enterprises and industrial units, are buying the power at a slightly higher price.
On the other hand, the government generally gives subsidy in the power sector as loans with 3% interest. This loan would increase the burden on Power Development Board (PDB) and REB financially.
He, however, said decisions had been made to increase the bulk tariff for PDB.
BERC will send the prepared tariff set to the Prime Minister’s Office for approval and announce it once it gets the approval.
BERC held a seven-day public hearing between September 25 and October 4 on proposals submitted by six state-owned electricity agency and distribution companies to fix new bulk and retail power tariffs.
It has to give a decision on electricity tariff within 90 days of the public hearings, as required by the commission act.
On February 20, PDB sent a proposal to BERC to raise the power tariff at bulk level by Tk0.72 per unit.
Besides, REB, West-Zone Power Distribution Company Ltd, Dhaka Power Distribution Company (DPDC), North West Zone Power Distribution Company Ltd, and Dhaka Electric Supply Company (Desco) have sought hikes in retail tariff.
The BERC last raised power tariff by 2.93% or Tk0.18 per unit on a weighted average for retail consumers with effective from September 01, 2015. It also raised bulk power tariff by Tk0.23 per unit on a weighted average for bulk consumers.