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BPDB seeks Tk 58b from govt to meet expenses

Huge electricity bills unpaid amid pandemic

M Azizur Rahman | June 07, 2020 00:00:00

The state-run Bangladesh Power Development Board (BPDB) has sought Tk 58 billion from the government to manage regular expenses, as a huge amount of its electricity bills remains due.

"We sought the fiscal support from the government, and will pay the fund back once the due electricity bills are collected," BPDB Chairman Md Belayet Hossain told the FE on Saturday.

The BPDB is the lone buyer of electricity from the country's all power plants, including oil-fired, gas-fired, hydro and coal-fired ones, and the entity has to pay the plant owners according to respective power purchase agreements (PPAs), he said.

The state-run power distribution companies, including the BPDB, did not impose any surcharge on electricity bill payment of household consumers for the months of February, March and April due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

The household consumers have been asked to pay electricity bills for all these months along with that of May by June 30, according to a decision of the Power Division under the Ministry of Power, Energy and Mineral Resources.

Other state-run distribution companies, however, only informed the government about the loss that they are incurring due to non-payment of electricity bills.

"As we are autonomous entities, we did not seek any fiscal support from the government to cover up the loss regarding the unpaid electricity bills," said Dhaka Power Distribution Company Ltd (DPDC) managing director Bikash Dewan.

He, however, hoped that the pending bills would be received soon.

Officials said a good number of electricity consumers across the country allegedly got exorbitant bills during the past couple of months of nationwide shutdown.

Some of them alleged that the electricity bill for the month of April was almost double than the previous month, and it was much higher than their consumption and expected amount.

Some others alleged that they received inflated electricity bills even without consuming electricity.

Usually a 5.0 per cent surcharge is imposed on electricity bills against non-payment of bills for each month.

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