The acute load-shedding across the country continued until Sunday, amid less-than-required generation by the privately owned oil-fired power plants, sources said.
The ongoing outage would intensify further and continue for next couple of weeks as the Payra 1,244-megawatt (MW) power plant is set to completely suspend its operations from today (Monday) due to the coal crisis.
State Minister for Power, Energy and Mineral Resources Nasrul Hamid on Sunday acknowledged the setback, saying the load-shedding reached an 'intolerable' level.
He, however, assured that the power supply would improve within the next two weeks with the resumption of operation of the country's largest base load power plant.
Talking to newsmen at his office in the Bangladesh Secretariat, Mr Hamid said a shortage of fuel supply is the main reason for the power outages. The country is currently facing a load-shedding of around 2,500 MW.
The ongoing heat wave with high temperature rising from 38 degrees to 41 degrees Celsius substantially increased the demand for electricity, he said. "The government has the power stations ready, but a shortage of fuel has made things worse."
Responding to a query, the state minister said the government had been trying for the last two months to make up for the fuel insufficiency, but opening letters of credit (LCs) to import fuel were challenging.
State-run Petrobangla has been re-gasifying a significantly higher volume of liquefied natural gas (LNG) over the past one week to mitigate the ongoing fuel crisis.
Industries are now getting preference to get natural gas supply from the grid, said Mr Hamid
State-run electricity marketing and distribution companies are imposing several hours of load-shedding in different areas across the country, a senior official of the state-run Bangladesh Power Development Board (BPDB) told the FE on Sunday.
Power outages in rural areas are the worst, said sources.
Energy adviser to the Consumers Association of Bangladesh (CAB) Dr Shamsul Alam demanded a cut in capacity payment system to ensure operation of privately owned power plants.
He also demanded removing discrimination, while enforcing load-shedding, saying that the rural and urban people should face the similar fate of the power crisis.
People across the country are bearing the brunt of acute load- shedding, said sources.
Business and commercial operations are also being disrupted badly due to the frequent outages of electricity in major parts of the country.
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