Home Power & Energy BPDB lost electricity demand in Chittagong
Power & Energy - 3 weeks ago

BPDB lost electricity demand in Chittagong

47pc of electricity remain unutilized: CPD

Zarif Mahmud: Bangladesh Power Development Board (BPDB) has lost consumers demand in Chittagong despite having huge industrial units in the division. Chittagong witnessed almost 43 percent of industrial units but the electricity demand stands at only 1447 MW daily. Sources told that most of the heavy industries of the division have set up their own captive power plants for minimizing dependency of the PDB electricity.
Majority of the country’s heavy industries are located in the districts of Chittagong division.
A number of large-scale Export Processing Zones (EPZs) and Economic Zones (EPZs) have been developed here, especially in the steel, cement, ship-breaking industries, and apparel sectors.
According to this, among the nine distribution zones of the transmission company Power Grid Company of Bangladesh (PGCB), experts believe that Chittagong will have the highest demand for electricity after Dhaka.
Although the company’s statistics show that the number of industrial establishments is high, the electricity demand in Chittagong zone is less than that of Khulna, Comilla or Rajshahi.
Electricity department officials and experts are of the opinion that such discrepancy is seen in the statistics due to the fact that the actual demand of electricity is not determined. They think that Chittagong’s position will be after Dhaka if electricity supply is provided after assessing the actual demand. When asked about this, no official clear answer was received from the power department or the distribution companies.
According to PGCB data, power demand and distribution were highest in Dhaka zone in recent months. After this, there are Khulna and Rajshahi zones respectively. Although the number of industrial establishments in both zones is comparatively less than Chittagong.
Bangladesh Power Development Board (BPDB) recorded the highest electricity production in the country on April 30 this year. At 11:00 pm on that day, the company recorded the highest power generation of 16,477 MW. Out of this, electricity supply in Dhaka zone was 5,674 MW. 1,967 and 1,870 MW respectively in Khulna and Rajshahi. 1,551 MW in Comilla zone. After this, the position of Chittagong Division was 1,448 MW. In addition, at that time, electricity was supplied in Barisal, Sylhet, Rangpur and Mymensingh zones respectively 512 MW, 360, 991 and 1,202 MW.
BPDB Member (Distribution) Md. Rezaul Karim told, ‘Rajshahi is much bigger than Chittagong as a geographical area of distribution. Because of that, the demand for electricity may be high there. Moreover, electricity is used considering the peak or off-peak hours in the large industries of Chittagong. Besides, there are many heavy industries which have high electricity demand, yet they consume less. Apart from this, since Chittagong and Comilla have become two zones, there is a big reason for the sharing of electricity demand there.
In Chittagong there are thousands of industrial factories including ship building industry, cement, rod, angle, resin, polymer, edible oil, public and private fuel refining. There are also two Export Processing Zones (EPZs) five BSCIC industrial cities, Garments. Apart from this, there are many large private industrial areas including China EPZ, Korean EPZ developed by foreign investment. Although there is a large demand for electricity in these industrial areas, due to the gas-electricity crisis for several years, many are facing the emergency crisis by allowing small-scale captive power. Due to which these industries do not take electricity from the grid, the demand for electricity has decreased.
The industrialists of Chittagong complain that the heavy factories here do not get power supply as per the demand. Bangladesh Steel Re-Rolling Mills (BSRM), one of the top industries in the country’s steel sector, has permission to use about 300 MW of electricity per day in several heavy factories. But the company can consume 220-230 MW of electricity per day.
Talking to the BSRM authorities, it is known that there will be no electricity in BSRM’s Mirsrai factory for a day. If BSRM’s biggest factory is shut down for one day, the production cost increases to a great extent. To resolve the crisis, the company has approved its own coal-based power plant, but it can’t be kept operational. Although there is a plan to increase the production of steel products with a long-term goal, it is not being done.
Deputy Managing Director of BSRM, Tapan Sengupta, told, “Despite being a city of heavy industries and factories, the electricity consumption rate in Chittagong is not known. However, Chittagong’s industrialists have not been getting electricity as per their demand for quite some time. Although regular and uninterrupted power supply is essential for heavy industry, the entrepreneurs of Chittagong have to use electricity through rationing. In the industrial zones of Chittagong, one day power supply is compulsorily shut down every week. Even on other days the industries have to come under load shedding. Due to this, the production cost is also increasing along with the decrease in production. In this, the entrepreneurs are deprived of achieving the desired target in the competitive market.
According to industrial owners’ organizations, many are thinking of shifting their factories from Chittagong due to the lack of uninterrupted power supply. Omar Hajjaz, President of The Chittagong Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said, “Just like gas, the electricity crisis in Chittagong is very high. Although Chittagong is the port city with the heaviest industries and factories in the country, many people are not encouraged to make new investments due to the insufficiency of various types of energy including electricity. Even many of the entrepreneurs of Chittagong are shifting factories due to strategic reasons in different areas of the country including Dhaka. It is important to pay special attention to Chittagong to increase the use of electricity in building an industrial economic structure. If that is not done, the seaport facility cannot be utilized. The whole country will be deprived of the huge potential of production, export and employment.
Various power generation plants are being constructed and approved based on the estimation that the demand of electricity will increase in the country. Several large plants are now also coming into production According to an estimate by the research institute Center for Policy Dialogue (CPD), about 47 percent of the country’s power capacity remains unutilized. BPDB does not have enough money to import fuel to meet the demand. Due to this reason, sometimes loadshedding has to be done from 2 to 2.5 thousand megawatts compared to the demand, said the concerned people.
On the condition of anonymity, an official of the power department told, “The actual demand for electricity in Chittagong zone is 17-18 thousand megawatts. Electricity cannot be provided there according to demand. To do that, there will be load shedding across the country. If uninterrupted supply is ensured there, demand for electricity can be created on a large scale.

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