Consumer groups against nonstop power supply at higher rates
Reported by: UNBConnect
Reported on: May 02, 2012 09:02 pm
Reported in: National
Dhaka, May 2 (UNB) - All the consumer groups, including CAB and BGMEA, have vehemently opposed the proposal of the state-owned Power Development Board (PDB) for uninterrupted power supply at higher rates.
Participating in the public hearing at Bangladesh Energy Regulatory Commission (BERC) on Wednesday, they said his new proposal will not only put the total industrial sector in peril, but also create a discriminatory situation in society which will finally lead to a conflicting situation between the poor and the affluent people.
After the hearing, the BERC set May 13 to pass its order on the proposal.
“If the new tariff is offered to industries, the overall production cost will go up resulting in non-competitiveness,” Kazi Anwar Ahmed Head of Corporate Affairs of BSRM Group of Companies. BSRM is the country’s one of the biggest steel and re-rolling mills which is Tk 5130 crore.
Anwar pointed out that the electricity cost for producing each ton of mild steel (MS) rod will now go up to Tk 14,400 from the present cost of Tk 4,800.
The BERC held the public hearing on the PDB’s new proposal submitted on April 15.
As per the proposal, the residential consumers have been offered to have each unit of electricity at Tk 13 instead of the existing highest rate of Tk 7.89 per unit (kilowatt hour) while the industrial consumers Tk 16-19 per unit on the basis of the voltage at 132 KV line.
The proposal was submitted in compliance of a decision of the Power Division of the Power and Mineral Resources Ministry.
The BERC in April raised the electricity tariff for both bulk and retail consumers with retrospective effect from March 1. But within less than a month, the PDB again moved for raising electricity tariff on the pretext of providing uninterrupted power supply.
The PDB’s move came following its huge losses in buying electricity at a higher rate from rental power plants.
Opposing the PDB’s proposal Consumers Association of Bangladesh (CAB) representative Prof Sumsul Alam said the new proposal will create a huge discrepancy between the rich and the poor.
If the PDB is allowed to sell uninterrupted power supply at higher rates to affluent people, he said, it will lose its interest to serve the poor by providing electricity at a lower rate.
Representatives of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) said the new offer of PDB will put the whole export business in a dilemma as the apparel sector will be losing its competitiveness.
Salauddin Bablu, a common consumer, said the government cannot offer uninterrupted power supply at higher rates to affluent people when most of the people do not have access to electricity.
Another consumer said if the government agency makes such discriminatory offer, a conflicting situation will be created in society.
PDB Chairman ASM Alamgir Kabir said the PDB has made the proposal on an interim basis as it has to incur huge losses in buying electricity from the liquid fuel-fired rental power plants.