Saturday, January 28, 2023
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After fuel oil, govt now to open power distribution to private sector

Originally posted in The Business Standard  on 01 January 2023

The government is set to open the electricity distribution system for the private sector after a similar move to end the import and supply monopoly of fuel oil a month ago.

The matter will be announced within this month, State Minister for Power, Energy and Mineral Resources Nasrul Hamid said on Sunday at a workshop held at the Bidyut Bhaban in the capital.

“The government is thinking of gradually opening the electricity distribution system. Energy is already going to the private sector as the policy portfolio has been prepared,” said Nasrul Hamid.

Amid the volatile energy price in the global market, the government has decided to open the fuel oil import, storage and distribution to the private sector to curb the state subsidy for fuel. The import and distribution monopoly of oil, until the decision, was under the state-owned Bangladesh Petroleum Corporation.

Speaking as the chief guest of the workshop – Smart Grid Pilot Project – organised by the Dhaka Power Distribution Company, Nasrul Hamid said smart meters should be ensured first before going to smart grid.

“The Bangladesh Power Development Board (BPDB) should have led this smart grid and smart meter programme. Unfortunately they are lagging behind,” said the state minister.

“Now, the DPDC and the Dhaka Electric Supply Company Limited (Desco) got the lead in smart distribution grid and smart metering,” he added.

NKSoft Corporation (hereinafter NKSoft) based in the USA with 14 offices in eight countries has been contracted by the DPDC to develop the “Consultancy Service for Procurement, Implementation, Supervision, Dissemination, Replicability, and Communication to Introduce Smart Grid under DPDC Area on Pilot Basis”.

The €112,400 million project in the DPDC areas is funded by the AFD and the EU.

Introduce smart management system in power grid: Nasrul Hamid
Sakhawat John Chowdhury, managing director of NKSoft Corporation, USA presented the Smart Grid Roadmap for the DPDC including the technology highlights.

He said the Smart Grid Pilot project aims to provide more reliable and quality supply, by deploying innovative solutions for the automatization and digitalisation of the current distribution grid in DPDC’s pilot project area.

The Smart Grid pilot project will be implemented in the following five out of the 68 substations in Dhaka defined through a consultation meeting and the substations’ located in Asad Gate, Green Road, Jigatola, Lalmatia and Satmosjid areas.

He said these smart distribution grids will have integrated communication systems, advanced sensing with AI, advanced metering infrastructure, measurement infrastructure, comprehensive decision support, and easy to use system interfaces.

DPDC Managing Director Engineer Bikash Dewan chaired the workshop while the programme was moderated by Farjana Yesmin Asha, Director of World Wide Brand Communication, NKSoft Corporation, USA.

Among others, Power Division’s Secretary Md Habibur Rahman, Minister Counsellor and Head of Cooperation at EU Maurizio Cian and Chairman of BPDB Mahbubur Rahman addressed the event as special guest.