Tougher Ramadan for Bangladeshis suffering power outagesBy Syed Tashfin Chowdhury Aug 02, 2011 5:17PM UTC
As Ramadan began in Bangladesh from August 2, the summer heat and demand for electricity has increased the load on the power stations in the country. Additionally the production is suspended at some power plants due to technical upgrades has compounded sufferings for practicing muslims.
Power outages have thus increased from four hours in July to seven to eight hours currently.
A recent Daily Star report mentioned that the authorities are trying to keep load-shedding level within 700 MW. This is still a good news for Bangladeshis as this is half of the total load-shedding during Ramadan last year.
There will be no improvement in the current crisis till mid-August when the authorities hope to add four power plants, adding 270MW more power to the national grid currently at around 4,400 MW when the total demand per day is over 5,200 MW.
These power plants were supposed to be under operation by June or July of this year.
The government will also enforce a daily shutdown of six hours at CNG stations between 3:00pm and 9:00pm to divert the gas to power plants to increase gas-fired power production. This will add to the woes of commuters and car owners in Bangladesh for whom the queues at the filling stations will get even longer.
Due to the gas crisis and technical glitches, about 800MW of gas-based power cannot be generated, according to officials of the Power Development Board (PDB).
Daily Star quoted a top PDB official, “The government has added around 2000MW electricity since it came to power, and now the country should have been generating 5000MW power — the real situation is different.”
He went on: “The fact is, most of the basic power plants of the country are decades-old, and their maintenance and overhauling times were long overdue. Due to high demands, we have continued non-stop operations way beyond their maintenance schedules. Now different plants are causing disturbances,” he said.
“In other words, had not we added 2000MW in the last two years, we would have now been left with around 3000MW power, meeting only around half the country’s demand,” he said.
He pointed out that one-fourth of the power plants, that added 2000MW electricity in the last two years, are always undergoing some maintenance and repairs.
More power plants are in the pipeline and scheduled to be operational by December of this year. The government has assured that once these plants are operational load-shedding will become history.