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Payra coal power plant resumes production after 20 days

Originally published in The Business Standard on 25 June 2023

After 20 days, the Payra 1320 MW Thermal Power Plant resumed production with one unit coming into operation on Sunday, supplying around 600MW, the Bangladesh Development Board said.

The plant started supplying electricity to the national grid at 4pm, said SM Wazed Ali Sardar, member (generation) at the Bangladesh Power Development Board.

The Payra plant had shut off completely on 5 June following persisting coal shortage.

The two units of the Payra power plant required around 10,000 to 12,000 tonnes of coal to run at full capacity.

The Bangladesh-China Power Company – the owner of the plant – has been importing coal from Indonesia since its establishment in 2018.

The dollar crisis, however, forced the authorities to import coal on credit and the due bills reached $390 million at the end of April.

As the bills have become overdue, Indonesia has been refusing to supply more coal, resulting in the shutdown of the plant.

The shutdown left the country reeling from one of the worst power crises, triggering a 3,400MW load-shedding amid a swelling heat wave.

However, the situation has improved a bit due to irregular rain in different parts of the country and maximum load-shedding has now dropped to 1600 MW in a single day.

At present, the country needs 14,500-15,000MW electricity per day, while the maximum supply hovers between 13,500MW and 14,000MW.