Power distribution to go to private sector this year

Shanchita Shitu
Published : 06:00, Feb 11, 2019 | Updated : 16:06, Feb 12, 2019

Bangladesh’s power generation capacity rose to 15,351MW from 4,942MW in the last eight years. (File photo)The government wants to give a certain section of power distribution to the private sector. The grand plan on power 2041 talks about an investment of $ 25 billion.
Power Grid Company of Bangladesh, PGCB, sources say: work has begun to hand over work to private entrepreneurs for constructing and operating grid in two areas.
PGCB says, initially, two distribution lines will be constructed: from Maheshkhali to Madunaghat and from Rauzan to Mirsarai.
For distributing power through these grids, private entrepreneurs will have to be given a certain amount of tariff. One part of the tariff will be added to the private entrepreneurs. However, the rate of tariff has not been fixed as yet.
PGCB’s MD, Masum Al Beruni, told Bangla Tribune: initially, PGCB, has taken a decision to construct distribution lines in two spots. Now Power cell is making a policy and bid document.”
After taking power in 1996, the AL government created a chance for the private sector to take part in power development with an independent power producer policy.
Currently, half of the power produced is the country is being taken from the private sector and the government wants the participation of the private sector in constructing the grid line.
The 2041 grand plan says that to increase distribution, $ 25 billion will have to be invested.
Power cell’s MD, Mohammad Hossain, said: “PGCB has fixed two projects and a draft policy has been made to give distribution lines to the private sector.”
Papers are being fixed to call tenders, he added.
Power Development Board, sources say: “the production capacity of grid is 17965 megawatt but due to age, the capacity of some has fallen.”
As a result, the actual production is 17422 megawatt.
To increase power production, the government planned to bring small power plants under private ownership; however, since there isn’t any demand now, many centres are idle.
But since capacity charge has to be paid, PDB is facing loss.
Meanwhile, Power cell’s former MD, BD Rahmatullah, opposes distribution lines under private ownership, saying: “in India, the government takes power from private sector but has kept the distribution control within itself.”
The government has to think before taking a decision, he added.