As June approaches, power outages may become more frequent.

DailyStar || Shining BD

Published: 5/31/2023 4:48:43 AM

As the country's power generation capacity is underutilized by about 45 percent at a time when temperatures are once again on the rise due to the dollar crisis, fuel scarcity, and maintenance work, power outages are likely to worsen in June.

23,370MW is the current amount of power that can be produced. According to information from the Power Grid Company of Bangladesh (PGCB), the nation produced approximately 11,200MW of electricity per day on average from May 24 to May 29, and approximately 13,300MW during the evening peak period.

According to PGCB sources, the nation's production yesterday evening was 11,700MW compared to a demand for 13,250MW.

People experienced severe power outages during the nation's mild and moderate heat wave in the first week of May. For a few weeks, rain provided some temporary relief, but as temperatures have risen, electricity demand has gone up.

With the request for anonymity, a top official of a power distribution company told The Daily Star, "Up until today (yesterday), we are shedding load at a tolerable rate, but we don't know what the situation will be like from next week." Due to a coal shortage, the largest power plant in the nation, Payra, will be shut down starting the following week.

At 4:00 pm yesterday, sources said Dhaka Power Distribution Company Limited (DPDC) and Dhaka Electric Supply Company Ltd (Desco) were facing a shortage of about 450 MW compared to a demand for 2,800 MW. According to them, the two distribution companies must reduce their load primarily during the day.

At a program on Monday, state minister for power Nasrul Hamid claimed that a fuel shortage was to blame for the outages. According to him, fuel shortages are a result of the increase in fuel prices on the global market.

Three to four hours per day, at least four to five times per week, of power outages affect residents of the capital.

A shop owner in Farmgate reported experiencing three power outages, each lasting at least an hour, since 9:00am yesterday.

At Banglamotor resident Ferdous Hasan Pranto claimed that numerous power outages made him stay up all night.

"After staying up all night, it was painful to go to work in the morning. Due to the power outages in the morning, we were without water. Three to four power outages have occurred each night for the past ten days.

Shafiqul Islam, an Adabor resident, received cuts four times yesterday between 7:00am and 1:00pm. "Power outages have been happening frequently over the past three days. Due to the intense heat, my 1-year-old baby became seriously ill.

Residents of the communities of Jatrabari, Mohammadpur, Badda, and Uttara reported frequent power outages.

"We're attempting to maintain proportionate cuts across the board. But in some places, like the PMO, the secretariat, and the hospitals, it is impossible to lighten the load. If the shortage is only 200 MW or less, we can still control the situation, but it is currently much worse than that, according to DPDC managing director Bikash Dewan.

Desco Managing Director Kausar Ameer Ali said of the gap between demand and production: "Due to the increasing gap, we need to shed the load at least twice a day."

Intriguingly, the power sector is receiving the highest gas supply ever—over 1,100 million cubic feet per day—which seems insufficient given that, on average, only 4,818 MW of the 11,039 MW of gas-fired power generation capacity is used.

Furnace oil and diesel-fired power plants produced about 3,800 MW of electricity from May 24 to May 29 compared to their capacity of 7,122 MW, and coal-fired power plants produced about 2,226 MW compared to their capacity of 3,360 MW, according to PGCB sources. Despite having a 1,160 MW capacity, Bangladesh imports about 1,065 MW of electricity from India, they continued.

For the past few days, the coal-based Payra and Rampal power plants both produced only 300 to 350 MW of electricity, leading to an increase in power outages in various Khulna districts.

Bangladesh Rural Electrification Board (BREB), which provides electricity to 55% of consumers nationwide, has been forced to reduce load in all of its areas due to a lack of power generation.

On average, power outages were worst in the Khulna zone as of May 29, then in Mymensingh, Rajshahi, Dhaka, Rangpur, Cumilla, Sylhet, and Barishal.

Shining BD