Mahfuja Mukul: Electricity demand in the country is now 14 to 14.5 thousand megawatts per day. A major part of this is coming from India’s Adani Power Limited. 1200-1400 MW daily electricity is coming from the 1600 MW coal-based plant. However, according to the agreement, Bangladesh Power Development Board (BPDB) can take a maximum of 1,496 MW of electricity from Adani. As such, PDB is now buying the most electricity from Adani as a single buyer.
Although Adani Power plays a major role in the country’s electricity demand, the outstanding electricity bill has already exceeded $400 million. However, PDB says the company’s electricity bills are being paid. $75 million have been paid till this October. A reliable source in the company said that more bills will be paid this week.
A BPDB official said on condition of anonymity that the experimental electricity bill of $17 million (1.70 crore) has been paid in advance. Of the bills that Adani Power submits to BPDB after going into commercial production, $750 million has been paid in three installments. More will be paid in the current month. The official said that the bills of the IPPs are being paid, but it is a little slow.
Adani Power started trial electricity supply to Bangladesh in March this year. After about a month i.e. in April, the first unit of the plant started producing electricity commercially. After commissioning of the second unit from July, PDB took power supply from the two units at full capacity. Adani’s arrears for power supply for the six months from April to September have crossed $400 million.
Earlier, several letters were sent by Adani Power to PDB and Electricity Department regarding payment of supply bills. According to a letter from the power department, from March to June this year, Adani Power sent three bills to PDB. In those three bills, the company informed about the outstanding dues for electricity supply of $20 million. It is said that the bill has doubled as three more months have passed.
PDB purchases power on commercial basis from three large power plants. Out of this, the company is taking a maximum of 1,400 MW from Adani Power in Jharkhand, 650 MW from the 1,320 MW Payra power plant in Patuakhali and 500-600 MW from Rampal thermal power plant in Bagerhat.
The current daily electricity demand in the country is 14 to 14.5 thousand megawatts. Out of this more or less 2600 MW is coming from India. According to the agreement with Adani Power, electricity is coming from 1,200 to 1,400 MW out of 1,496 MW. Apart from this, 1,160 MW of electricity is coming to the country under the JTUG agreement with India. As a result, about 20 percent of the current electricity demand in the country is imported from India.
PDB buys a huge amount of electricity every month from private power plants to maintain normal power supply in the country. But these power generation companies are unable to pay dues due to non-regular disbursements from the finance department. Many IPPs are already said to be on the verge of bankruptcy due to non-payment of dues.
Bangladesh Independent Power Producers (BIPP), president of private power plant owners’ association, Faisal Khan told, “The outstanding bills have now become more overdue. IPPs currently have seven months of arrears with PDB. Loans cannot be opened for oil-based power plants now. Besides, the power plant cannot be repaired due to financial crisis. Many IPP companies defaulted due to inability to repay their loans.
Energy sector experts say that the demand could not be increased while increasing the power generation capacity as per the target. When the electricity master plan was prepared, the demand for electricity was estimated to increase by 10 percent per year, but it did not increase. As a result, power plants have been built, but PDB has not been able to develop the power consumption sector. As a result, many power plants are taking money without producing. As a result of this, various pressures have been created on the company, including outstanding bills, energy import bills, and even outstanding bills owed to distribution companies.
The power and energy department of the government is struggling to collect the energy for the daily demand of electricity in the country. Due to the high price of fuel oil in the international market, more than one-third of the capacity of oil-based power plants is not being utilized.
According to PDB data, the furnace oil based (HFO) power plant capacity in the country is 6,492 MW. And diesel based (HSD) power plant has 490 MW. It can be seen from the energy-based electricity generation data that currently PDB is producing 1500 to 2000 megawatts of electricity.
Besides, due to the shortage of gas, maximum 6,000 MW of electricity is being produced out of the total gas-based capacity of 11,500 MW. At least 45 power plants of the remaining capacity have been idled due to gas shortage. Besides, many gas-based power plants cannot be used due to reduced efficiency.
The electricity demand season in the country is from March to September. At this time, due to irrigation and summer season, the demand for electricity increases at a large rate, which is like 13,500 to 14,000 megawatts. However, so far, the maximum demand for electricity has not risen above 15,500 megawatts.
Analyzing PDB data, it can be seen that from January to March last year, the demand for electricity was from a minimum of 10,000 MW to a maximum of 13,662 MW. And from April to September that demand was the highest 14,782 MW. From October the demand decreased till December it fell to 10,346 MW.
The average electricity demand in the country in January this year was 10,330 MW, in February 11,704 MW, in March 12,921 MW, in April 15,648 MW, in May 14,511 MW, in June 14,655 MW, in July 15,164 MW, 14,889 MW in August, 14,938 MW in September.
Analysis of PDB’s calculations showed that, although the maximum of 15,500 megawatts in two-one months, the actual electricity demand is stuck at 14,000 to 14,500 megawatts.
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