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BERC warns BPDB over expired plants’ generation costs

Staff Correspondent
26 Nov 2022 00:00:00 | Update: 26 Nov 2022 16:24:20
BERC warns BPDB over expired plants’ generation costs

Bangladesh Energy Regulatory Commission (BERC) has warned that it will not consider future electricity price hike proposals if Bangladesh Power Development Board (BPDB) includes power generation costs at its expired plants in those.

It gave the warning in a statement recently.

There is an allegation that BPDB keeps power generation costs at its expired plants in its system instead of removing the data. Renovating these plants require additional costs while their reduced efficiency results in more fuel consumption, which ultimately increases average power generation costs, said BERC.

A BERC director said the cost of generating power at expired plants is affecting average electricity prices. “At the same time, the plants are generating less power and run for a very short time throughout the year.”

BPDB said private power plants have to renew their contracts after expiry but there is no such obligation for its own plants. Generally, gas-fired plants have a lifespan of 20 years while it is 15 years for oil-run plants.

BPDB has some plants that are 25-30 years old. Besides, another state-run power generator Ashuganj Power Station Company has some such old units at its Ghorashal and Ashuganj plants. Some old units at the Ghorashal and Ashuganj plants have been renovated to improve efficiency.

Insiders say if a plant’s efficiency is high, its power generation cost is low. At the same time, if the plant can utilise its full capacity, that also keeps the power generation cost low. However, most plants in the country cannot fulfil these conditions.

Power Division data shows the Ashuganj plant has two units of 150MW each that started production in 1986 and 1987. The units expired almost 17 years ago. There is a 210MW plant at Ghorashal in Narsingdi, which started production in 1989.

Moreover, BPDB’s 20MW plant in Sylhet is 36 years old. The 91MW plant in Fenchuganj is now 28 years old. There are two plants in Rangpur and Syedpur that are 35 and 36 years old.

BPDB Member (planning and development) Dhurjati Prasad Sen said it is not possible to phase out the old plants due to various reasons. But he refused to clarify the reasons.