Consumers in the eastern and north-eastern parts of the country are likely to pay more for electricity as an evaluation committee has suggested the price regulatory body to increase the electricity distribution cost by 21 percent in these areas.
Evaluating the Bangladesh Power Development Board's proposal for increasing distribution cost, the Technical Evaluation Committee of the Bangladesh Energy Regulatory Commission (Berc) made the recommendation on Sunday.
Mizanur Rahman, member (Power) of Berc said, "The evaluation committee determined the revenue required by the Bangladesh Power Development Board (BPDB). In the post-hearing discussion, the commission will decide the hike in electricity distribution cost."
At the beginning of the second day of the four-day-long public hearing on the electricity price adjustment proposal at bulk and retail level, Kawsar Amir Ali, general manager (Commercial affairs) of the BPDB presented the retail price adjustment proposal.
He said, the organisation needed to increase the electricity distribution cost to Tk1.05 per kilowatt which is 23 percent higher than the current rate.
According to the BPDB, in the 2018-2019 fiscal year, there was 7.26 percent system loss as the organisation sold 10,572 million units against 11,400 million units purchased from power plants.
But, it has been projected that around 12,992 million units of electricity will be distributed in the region in 2020. To distribute this electricity, the BPDB needs to increase its charges.
Representatives from consumer's association and other organisations, however, questioned the Berc Committee's evaluation.
Some parts of the evaluation report are vague, they alleged, adding the high expense in human-resources and depreciation of the BPDB asset are not reported clearly.
At the hearing, Professor M Shamsul Alam, energy advisor of the Consumers Association of Bangladesh said, the regulatory body does not realise the effect of one paisa increase in electricity price.
"With a single decision, the Berc makes way for the distribution companies to make crores of taka," said Shamsul Alam.
Commenting on the poor quality of electric equipment, Shamsul Alam said, "Terrible corruption prevails in the sector as there are no systems to test the equipment used in the power transmission and distribution system. So, despite having a large generation capacity, people are not getting uninterrupted electricity as the system breaks down due to technical malfunction."
Representatives from Electric Vehicle Manufacturers, Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association and different political parties also opposed the electricity price hike at the hearing.
Monowar Islam, chairman of the Berc, moderated the discussion programme where its members Rahman Murshed, Md Mizanur Rahman, and Md Mizanur Rahman were present.
The BPDB, the state's lone electricity buyer, has been distributing electricity to zones including Chattogram, Mymensingh, Comilla and Sylhet.
In the afternoon, Berc held the hearing on the retail electricity price hike proposal of Northern Electricity Supply Company (Nesco).
The Nesco is responsible for distributing electricity to the north-western part of the country.
However, the Berc Committee showed that Nesco is getting more money than it is required to operate the company.