The Ministry of Power and Energy will recommend to the Ministry of Public Administration and other concerned ministries to reduce the weekly working hours and implement a work-from-home policy in a bid to save energy.
Prime Minister's Energy Adviser Tawfiq-e-Elahi Chowdhury made the announcement at a press conference at the Prime Minister's Office on Thursday (7 July).
Load-shedding returned as Bangladesh felt first stirrings of global energy crisis due to Russia-Ukraine war. It is not just a load-shedding the consumers were used to a couple of years ago: It is a generation shortfall from lower-than-required supply of gas to power plants.
In the wake of the power disruptions across country, energy experts recommended that a proper and planned load management of the current energy supply could lessen the sufferings of the people.
Rising liquefied natural petroleum (LNG) prices in the world market have not only reduced power generation, but its supply is low enough that many stoves have also stopped burning. From homes, to shops to factories – everything and everyone can already feel the effects.
The government has also been unable to buy LNG from the spot market - where Bangladesh gets the bulk of its supplies - due to rising prices, with LNG price per unit crossing the $40 mark while it was last bought for $25. As a result, supply has dropped by 30%.
People in Bangladesh had first work-from-home experience when the Covid-19 pandemic broke out in the country in 2020. Now, they are about to go through the same drill this time for electricity crisis.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Wednesday (6 July) urged people to cooperate as the government is forced to carry out load shedding and limit electricity generation with fuel prices continuously increasing globally due to the Russia-Ukraine war.
"Since we could not increase subsidy in the power sector, we are forced to limit production and opt for load shedding," she said.
The premier asked authorities to prepare a routine area-wise specific time-based load-shedding routine across the country and urged countrymen to save power to the best of their ability.
She noted that her government is currently providing subsidies of Tk28,000 crore to the power sector.
"We have to provide a subsidy of Tk25,000 crore for LNG import to meet the demand of gas for making the power plants operational," she said.
PM Sheikh Hasina also called upon the countrymen to stop decorative lighting in different social programmes, community centres, shopping malls, shops, offices, and houses across the country aimed at saving power.
Countries opting for reduced work hours in a bid to save energy
Many countries around the world are opting for reduced work hours in a bid to save energy.
France is working on measures aimed at reducing the country's energy consumption by 10% over the next two years, amid concerns that suppliers could experience shortages this winter.
The bosses of France's three biggest providers – Engie, EDF and TotalEnergies – already called for businesses and individuals to reduce their consumption last month, stating that: "Acting this summer will allow us to be better prepared to face winter and in particular to preserve our gas reserves."
Pakistan will reduce its official work week to five days from six in a bid to reduce energy and fuel consumption as part of an energy conservation plan approved by the country's cabinet on Tuesday (5 July).
The move comes as hours-long power outages hit the South Asian country, with demand outstripping generation during the peak summer months. Soaring global fuel prices have also increased pressure on the external account and the local currency has hit record lows against the dollar.
"We are facing a severe crisis... We desperately need to take energy conservation measures. We need to tap on every option to save on energy," Information Minister Marriyum Aurangzeb said at a press conference.