CAB for carbon-free power generation

Originally posted in The Business Standard on 30 December 2021

Consumers Association of Bangladesh proposes various amendments to energy transition policy

The Consumers Association of Bangladesh (CAB) has called for a drastic reduction in carbon emissions in power generation and freeing the power and energy divisions from bureaucrats with vested interests.

“If bureaucrats at the power and energy divisions make decisions taking people’s views into consideration and we can say no to carbon in power generation, then we will be able to reduce the level of pollution,” said Architect Mubasshar Hussein, convener of CAB’s national committee for the disposal of consumer complaints.

“Many of our problems will be solved if we can take these two issues – carbon and bureaucracy – to the forefront and undertake appropriate measures to solve them,” he added.

He was speaking at a citizen views-exchange meeting at the city’s Bidyut Bhaban on Thursday with regard to a proposed energy transition policy formulated by CAB, for energy rights and environmental protection.

At the programme, CAB proposed various amendments to the energy transition policy. It said the proposed policy was sent to the power, energy, and mineral resources ministry on Thursday.

Professor Tanzimuddin Khan of Dhaka University’s international relations department presented CAB’s proposed energy transition policy at the views-exchange meeting.

He said the government adopted the national energy policy in 1995 and amended it in 2004 but did not finally approve the amendment.

The proposed energy policy says, according to the Renewable Energy Policy 2008, the target for power generation from renewable energy in 2021 was 10% of the electricity supply.

The total amount of electricity supplied to the grid in fiscal 2019-20 was estimated to be about 79 billion units whereas the proportion of renewable electric power in the grid was 0.09%. In fiscal 2020-21, it was 0.20%.

The market for solar home system electricity is now on the verge of extinction due to high production cost.

The proposal says the management policies and strategies of public and private utilities engaged in energy production, transmission, and distribution should be egalitarian.

Transparency and accountability must be ensured at all levels, including production, distribution, and marketing, so that consumers get quality energy services at fair and reasonable prices, the proposal adds.

Professor M Shamsul Alam, senior vice-president and energy adviser of CAB who presided over the views-exchange meeting, said, “It is not anything like the government having to agree with any issue of the Cab or CAB’s agreeing with any issue of the government.”

“Of course, the government has to make decisions keeping consumer issues in mind. The bureaucrats who have big energy sector responsibilities do not have much of an idea about energy, so the government has to bring qualified people to these responsibilities,” he added.

Professor Badrul Imam, of geology at Dhaka University, Barrister Jyotirmoy Barua, and Syeda Rizwana Hasan, chief executive of the Bangladesh Environmental Lawyers Association, among others, spoke at the programme.