CPD urges govt to rescind speedy energy supply act

Originally posted in The Business Standard on 23 March, 2023

The Center for Policy Dialogue (CPD) has proposed repealing the Quick Enhancement of Electricity and Energy Supply (Special Provision) Act 2010 to reduce the burden of additional expenditure on government.

The policy watchdog, at the time, recommended that future energy and electricity policies should be based on renewable energy policy frameworks. They also urged the government to move away from the initiative to include coal-based power plants as clean energy by using carbon capture technology  in the draft policy on renewable energy.

On Thursday, CPD Research Director Khandaker Golam Moazzem presented the recommendations in a media briefing titled “New Renewable Energy Policy-2022 (Draft): Will it be able to meet the goal of clean energy”. In the briefing held at the CPD office in the capital, the potential of renewable energy in Bangladesh and the policies that other countries have adopted in the renewable energy sector were discussed.

Khandaker Golam Moazzem said, “The circumstance of the power sector in 2022 is different from the crisis that we faced in 2009. Hence, the speedy energy supply act is no longer needed. This is not just forcing the government to opt for inefficient ways to produce and supply energy, but also putting additional pressure on the customers.”

The Quick Enhancement of Electricity and Energy Supply (Special Provisions) Act 2010 aims to make special provisions for facilitating effective and urgent measures to enhance the generation, transmission, transportation and marketing of electricity and energy with a view to ensuring an uninterrupted supply of electricity and energy keeping pace with the demands of agricultural, industrial, commercial and domestic activities, and for quick implementation of the plan to import electricity and energy from abroad, if necessary, and for implementation of the decisions on urgent extraction and utilization of minerals related to energy.

The tenure of the special provision, enacted in 2010, was extended on several occasions in the past. Later, in September 2021, the cabinet cleared a proposal for the extension of the Quick Enhancement of Electricity and Energy Supply (Special Provision) Act 2010 for another five years till 2026.

Cabinet Secretary Khandker Anwarul Islam, at the time, said the draft of the Quick Enhancement of Electricity and Energy Supply (Special Provision) (Amendment) Bill, 2021, was approved in order to ensure an uninterrupted supply of electricity and energy for the sake of making Bangladesh into a higher middle-income country by 2030 and a developed country by 2041.

PD believes the government should move away from such acts immediately in order to give way to competitive structures.

“Electricity sector wastage and its additional cost are being adjusted by passing the burden on consumers creating a huge capacity charge. Adopting a ‘No Electricity, No Payment’ system would have saved us from paying additional fees,” he observed.

Welcoming the fact that renewable energy is getting the attention of political and government policy makers, Golam Moazzem noted that there are deficiencies in the implementation phase.

Calling for further review of the efficiency of energy security and the amount of increased financial burden on the government, the CPD researcher said, “A coordinated energy and power system depends on the transparency and efficiency of contracts in the power sector.”