Originally posted in The Business Standard on 31 May 2022
He also said there is no possibility that the electricity tariff will decrease. It may rise, but will remain within affordability
State Minister for Power, Energy and Mineral Resources Nasrul Hamid has urged the businesspeople to stop commenting on rental power plants as he ruled out any reduction in power tariff.
“They (businesses) should talk about uninterrupted and quality power supply at affordable price…from which kind of plants they are getting electricity should not be their subject”, he told reporters while addressing a “Meet the Press” on Tuesday.
He also said there is no possibility that the electricity tariff will decrease. It may rise, but will remain within affordability.
Nasrul noted that Bangladesh will not buy crude oil from Russia as the fuel’s specification will not match with the country’s own requirements.
He mentioned that many countries are facing difficulties in keeping their price lower amid the global situation after the Russia-Ukraine war.
“You should not think that you would get electricity at the same price that you were getting 13 years back. You should not expect that”, he said responding to a question about the government’s assurance that the power tariff will gradually be cut down within 4-5 years after a temporary rise due to costly rental and quick rental power plants.
Forum for Energy Reporters Bangladesh (FERB) and Bangladesh Power Development Board (BPDB) jointly organised the event titled: “BPDB’s 50th Anniversary: Achievements and Challenges” at Bidyut Bhaban in the city.
BPDB chairman Mahbubur Rahman and FERB chairman Shamim Jahangir also addressed the function while it was moderated by FERB executive director Rishan Nasrullah.
Reacting to the FBCCI’s demand for shutting down the rental and quick rental power plants, Nasrul said “If fabric merchants talk about power plants from which we should get electricity, it’s not fair.”
“If your problem is about uninterrupted power supply, then it’s okay”, he said.
“You should not advise about the DOs and DON’Ts…You should talk about whether the power supply situation has improved or not”, he added.
Defending the BPDB’s moves about raising power tariff, the state minister said the income of the people has increased too.
“Now the people’s thoughts should be about the quality supply of electricity,” he said.
He, however, said the current challenge of the Power Division is to ensure uninterrupted power supply. But it is unlikely that the uninterrupted power supply will be ensured before the next 5-6 years as it involves huge cost.
“If we go for ensuring uninterrupted power supply, the entire power distribution and transmission line have to go underground…all substations will go underground which are very costly projects”, he said adding that only Uttara area will need Tk14,000 crore to take the system underground.
He said the government has to think about the return from such a huge investment.
He said many countries are offering Bangladesh to buy their petroleum products and Bangladesh has no crisis regarding the petroleum fuel as it has long import term agreements with different countries like Saudi Arabia and UAE.