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Govt targets to ensure uninterrupted power at rational prices

BSS . Dhaka
13 Jun 2022 18:39:07 | Update: 13 Jun 2022 18:51:40
Govt targets to ensure uninterrupted power at rational prices
The power generation capacity rocketed to 25,566MW in May 2022 — Rajib Dhar

Vexing power crisis once made people's lives miserable, but the situation has changed and now all citizens are getting supply of electricity round the clock, while the government has been implementing a number of projects to ensure quality and uninterrupted power supply at a rational price.

“With sincere and relentless efforts by the Awami League government, the country has successfully illuminated every house and brought 100 per cent people under electricity coverage,” State Minister for Power, Energy and Mineral Resources Nasrul Hamid told BSS on Monday.

He said the power generation capacity rocketed to 25,566MW in May 2022 from 4,942MW in January 2009. Of them, 1,160MW electricity is being imported and 24,406MW is being locally produced.

Solar power lit up beels (wetland), chars, hill and remote areas, as the government is committed to bringing everyone under electricity coverage, Nasrul said.

He said, “Electricity has reached inaccessible hilly and char areas. As grid facility is not available in those areas, river-crossing lines and in some of the places submarine cables have been installed to supply electricity.

“Some areas were too remote, so people in those areas have been given solar electricity. This is how Bangladesh has brought 100 per cent of the population under electricity coverage.”

According to an official of the ministry, in 2009, only 47 per cent of the population had access to power. Per capita power generation has increased from 220kWh to 560kWh and distribution losses of electricity have been reduced by 5.85 per cent.

He said there are 492 upazilas in the country. Rural Electrification Board (REB) supplies electricity to 462 upazilas.

According to the Power System Master Plan (PSMP) 2016, Bangladesh has an aspiration to become a high-income country by 2041 with increasing the country's power generation capacity to 60,000MW.

The official said the REB has brought 1,059 villages of remote off-grid areas within the electricity coverage. As a result, 200,000 people of these remote villages have come under electricity coverage.

Besides, river-crossing lines had to be installed at 90 places along with a total of 182 kilometres of submarine cable lines.

Talking to BSS, a power consumer said that due to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s bold steps and far-sighted decision, the country has successfully completed 100 per cent electrification.

Power Cell Director General Mohammad Hossain said uninterrupted and cost-effective electricity supply will increase the common people’s economy and life standard.

He said initiatives to supply house to house electricity has been taken at the behest of the prime minister on the occasion of Mujib Borsho, the birth centenary of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.

“Earlier in 2016, the government undertook a crash programme in line with 'Sheikh Hasina's initiative-electricity in every house' project,” Hossain said.

The ministry official, however, said that the REB introduced ‘Alor Feriwala’ programme to ensure electricity connection in a short time.

“Not only REB, but three more distribution companies have also worked to supply power to remote areas,” he added.

According to official sources, in total, 1,146 remote villages have come under electrification.

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The Power Development Board (PDB) started working to provide electricity to inaccessible Sandwip island in 2018.

The PDB installed a 16km long submarine cable and Sandwip got power connections in 2020.

The power ministry’s subordinate bodies have provided 4.27 crore connections so far.

Thus the authorities have ensured 100 per cent electrification within the stipulated time.

The prime minister made the announcement of the success while inaugurating the 1,320MW Payra power plant in Patuakhali on March 21.

Electrification in rural areas has improved the living standards of the local people and such success stories are the reason for Bangladesh’s advancement.

A study by Bangladesh Institute of Development Studies (BIDS) said an increase of 1 million units of electricity production also impacts the macroeconomy in the country.

The increase in power production adds around Tk 46 million to Tk 107 million in the economy.

The electricity has started to change the lives of char area people.

Agriculture was their only source of income even years ago while many small factories such as rice mills, poultry farms, small and medium-sized enterprises are being set up in these areas.

The Awami League government emphasised increasing electricity production since taking power in 2009.

As a result, the number of power plants has seen a whopping increase, from 27 to 152 now.

The capacity has increased to 25,566MW from 4,942MW.

Transmission line capacity has increased to 13,518 from 8,000 circuit kilometres while the distribution line has seen 6,26,000 kilometres from 2,60,000 kilometres.

Apart from this, 788.2MW power was added to the national grid from renewable energy sources, of which solar power generates 554.21MW electricity, wind generates 2.9MW, hydro generates 230MW, biogas generates 0.69MW electricity and biomass generates 0.4MW power.

Nasrul said, “The government has set a goal to generate 40 per cent electricity from renewable energy sources by 2041.

“And efforts are underway to increase the use of clean energy gradually, which will also reduce carbon emissions.”

He said the government has been offering various stimulus packages for expansion of renewable energy in the country and as part of it, the solar home system has been providing electricity to around two crore people in the off-grid areas.

He said, “Due to 100 per cent electrification and recognition of contribution to socioeconomic development in the Mujib Borsho, the Power Division was awarded the ‘Independence Award-2022’ and earned the honour.”