The Consumers Association of Bangladesh(CAB), a national consumers' rights body, has urged the government to abolish the Quick Enhancement of Electricity and Energy Supply (Special Provisions) that provides indemnity against any projects.
Gas and electricity has been made expensive over the years by taking many costly projects like the liquefied natural gas (LNG), rental and quick rental power projects under the Act that does not require any accountability and transparency in project implementation, said CAB.
Along with the abolition of the Power and Energy supply special act, CAB also placed 13 points demanded to ensure energy justice at a meeting on "Fuel Crisis and Development of Renewable Energy" at the capital's Cirdap auditorium on Saturday.
Echoing the cab demand, Parliament members from the ruling party's allies, energy experts also demanded the elimination of any anti-competition law including the power and energy supply Act.
Politicians and representatives of civil society also said that they will form a united movement to realise their demands.
Rashed Khan Menon, president of the Workers Party of Bangladesh said there is less scope to speak during parliament sessions as many issues are met with personal attacks.
"In the years 1996 and even 2008, various issues related to national interest could be discussed; now, one gets personally attacked if they want to do that," added Menon.
Answering a question on the party's ability to play an effective role in the parliament as part of the ruling party coalition on the repeal of the special law on fast energy supply, he said they had discussed it, but their efforts were not fruitful as the necessary support to cancel it was present in the parliament.
In 2010, the government made a special law for the rapid supply of electricity and energy.
Projects taken under this law cannot be tried in any court and allows for the acceptance and implementation of any project without open tender.
Shamim Haider Patwary, member of parliament from Gaibandha-1 constituency said, "Power and Energy Special Act is a disappointing matter for us because it gives indemnity about the projects under this act."
He said, "It means if the capacity payment increases from Tk80,000 crore to 80 lakh crore, we cannot question whether we are to pay the money. Governments will come and go, but provision of the special act will be applicable for all governments to come."
The Energy and Power sector has to be open and transparent because it directly affects all citizens, Shamim Haider Patwary added.
Dilip Barua, former Minister of Industries and the general secretary of the Bangladesher Samyabadi Dal said that there is no alternative to movement to ensure the citizen rights in the energy sector.
At the beginning of the seminar, Geologist Dr Badrul Imam, Economist Professor Dr MM Akash, CAB Senior Vice President Dr M Shamsul Alam, Architect Iqbal Habib and CAB Legal Advisor Barrister Jyotirmoy Barua presented the keynotes jointly.
M Shamsul Alam said that people have to unite once again to realise the 13-point demand as they stopped the export of natural gas, open cut coal mining and contract cancellation with Niko resources.
Badrul Imam said that the country is leaning towards importing liquefied natural gas (LNG) even though there is huge gas potential in the country which is the biggest failure of the energy sector.
"Fuel oil, coal are being imported. With the current trend, the country will become completely import dependent in the energy sector by 2030," he added.
MM Akash said that the annual capacity is increasing at the rate of 12 % and power generation is increasing at the rate of 7% which increases the cost of unused capacity.
"The cost of unused capacity is being pushed on the consumer by increasing the price again and again," said MM Akash.