The cabinet division approved the amendment of a provision of the Bangladesh Energy Regulatory Commission (Berc) Act 2003 on Monday, granting the regulatory authority to change gas and electricity prices multiple times in a fiscal year.
According to the previously unamended provision of the law, the regulator could not change the price of gas and electricity more than once in a fiscal year unless the energy price was changed.
"The tariff determined by the commission shall not be revised more than once in a fiscal year, unless there is a change in the prices of energy including any other changes," read 34(5) provision of the Berc Act 2003.
However, the modified provision allows the regulator to change the price as many times as it needs.
"The tariff determined by the commission shall be revised once or more than once in a fiscal through single or separate order based on needs," says the amended act.
The energy division took the initiative to amend the act claiming rapid changes have occurred in the energy supply system recently.
The Consumers Association of Bangladesh (CAB) termed the initiative as a tool to make gas and electricity more expensive for citizens.
"Now they can increase the energy price at any time of a year, which was not possible in the existing act. The government has changed the act to raise money from the consumers for its extravagant expenses," said M Shamsul Alam, energy advisor to the CAB.
He said they had filed a case in 2017 with the High Court against the commission for increasing the gas price twice with a single order. The court had then stayed the price hike of the second phase.