CHITTAGONG, Jan 17: Generation in all five gas-based government power plants in Chittagong remain suspended due to severe gas crisis.
Only half of the industrial and domestic demand for gas could be supplied in recent months as the region has been suffering from shortage of the energy for the last 10 years.
As many as 15 power generation plants in the public and private sectors in Chittagong with a combined generation capacity of 1, 561 megawatts are now producing only 520- 600MW, resulting in a daily deficit of 400- 450MW.
Officials at Bangladesh Power Development Board (BPDB) in Chittagong said they had to suspend generation in the five power plants due to non availability of gas.
As a result, they said, the daily demand that ranges between 950MW and 1,145MW is being managed with supplies from the national grid.
The situation was stated to be not very acute thanks to the lower consumption of power this winter that witnessed historical low temperature.
However, the production is not being hampered in the manufacturing plants, including readymade garments industry. But the domestic gas burners were running dry in many parts of the city for last several months.
City's Bakolia, a vast area of Chittagong City Corporation (CCC) with high population density and having the least utility facilities, is the worst sufferer of the gas crisis as the domestic consumers are deprived of gas for around 18 hours a day from 6.00 am to 12.00 in the midnight, according to a spot account.
Thousands of households have to depend on alternative electricity supply for cooking all items from the morning breakfast to night meals. Although they are dependent fully on electricity for cooking, day in day out, frequent load shedding for hours during the day time adds woes to their sufferings.
Sources said the generation-suspended public sector power plants are two units of 210MW each Raozan Thermal Power Plants, Shikalbaha 60MW Power Plant, Shikalbaha 150MW Peaking Power Plant and Shikalbaha 225MW Recycled Power Plant.
Production in two power plants at Raozan remains suspended from August 2017, Shikalbaha 60MW and 150MW plants from September last year and
Shikalbaha 225MW plant, commissioned only two months ago, from the first day of January this year. On the other hand, power generation at the Kaptai Hydro-electric power
plant has reduced due to reduction of water in the Kaptai Lake in Rangamati during the winter season.
Manager of Raozan 2X210MW power plants' Engineer Abdur Rahim said power generation in the units remain suspended since August 2017 due to gas crisis.
Chief Engineer of Chittagong South Region Power Distribution Prabir Kumar Sen said the consumption of electricity is comparatively low during the winter season.
"We are trying to cover the power shortage from the national grid," he said. "Currently, there is no load shedding but the people face power disruption due to weak transmission system, which we are trying to solve."
General manager (operation) of the Karnaphuli Gas Distribution Co Ltd Engineer Manjurul Haque said the gas crisis in Chittagong would go with the arrival of imported LNG (liquefied natural gas), which is expected to be available from the first week of May this year.
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