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Power generation plunges as businesses remain shut

FE REPORT | April 01, 2020 00:00:00


Electricity generation across the country dropped by around 20 per cent due to a fall in its demand as most of industrial units, offices and businesses remained shut to stem the spread of Coronavirus.

State-run Bangladesh Power Development Board (BPDB) is keeping the country's overall electricity generation lower due to less demand, BPDB director, public relations, Saiful Hasan Chowdhury told the FE on Tuesday.

Some power plants were asked to suspend operations and some were kept under maintenance work, he said.

According to the BPDB statistics, the countrywide electricity generation during day peak hours on Monday was around 7,000 megawatt, about 20 per cent lower than the generation during pre-holiday period, which was nearly 9,000 MW.

Peak electricity generation on Monday was around 9,700 MW, he said.

Both day peak and evening peak electricity generation is, however, less than half of the country's overall electricity generation capacity of about 19,580 MW.

With the increased electricity generation capacity, the BPDB will have to count sky-rocketing capacity payment to the power plant owners.

The capacity payment is a sort of penalty, which the BPDB is bound to pay to the power plant owners, if the government fails to purchase a certain portion of the electricity readily available.

Less electricity generation, however, means less subsidy, the BPDB would require from the government, said sources.

The BPDB is the lone buyer of electricity from the power producers across the country. The state-entity then sells the electricity to the distribution companies that supply it to the end users.

The country's electricity generating plants run on different fuels, including natural gas, furnace oil, diesel, coal, hydro and renewable energy.

Currently, the electricity generation cost at a gas-fired independent power producer (IPP) plant is below Tk 3.0 per unit (1 kilowatt-hour). The cost at a state-run gas-fired power plant is around Tk 3.0 per unit and at a gas-fired rental power plant about Tk 4.0 per unit.

The electricity generation cost at a government-owned furnace-oil fired power plant is Tk 13-16 per unit, at a rental or quick rental power plant Tk 9.5-13 per unit, and at an IPP plant Tk 9.0-14 per unit.

The electricity generation cost at a diesel-fired power plant ranges between Tk 15 and Tk 33 per unit.

Electricity generation cost from the lone Kaptai hydropower is below Tk 2.5 per cent.

Contribution of renewable energy to the country's overall electricity generation is very nominal.

Azizjst@yahoo.com


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