A move is underway to make the power distribution system in Dhaka city fully automated to better address the complaints of consumers, State Minister for Power, Energy and Mineral Resources Nasrul Hamid said on Saturday.
"Once all the consumers get the pre-paid metres, they'll have no more complaint," the state minister said while addressing a webinar.
Forum for Energy Reporters Bangladesh (FERB) organised the online seminar titled: "Uninterrupted and Reliable Underground Electricity Supply in Dhaka".
It was addressed, among others, by Power Secretary Habibur Rahman, Bangladesh Shop Owners' Association President Helal Uddin, and Prof Ziaur Rahman of BUET.
FERB Chairman Arun Karmaker presided over the seminar while Dhaka Power Distribution Company (DPDC) managing director Bikash Dewan and Dhaka Electric Supply Company (Desco) managing director Kawsar Ameer Ali made a presentation on the topic. FERB executive director Shamim Jahangir conducted the function.
Nasrul Hamid said Desco and DPDC have undertaken a big programme to take their network to underground as the government wants to modernise the power distribution network in the city.
Admitting a complaint made by Bangladesh Shop Owners Association about exaggerated electricity bills, he said some officials were responsible for the misdeeds and some of them were fired for the wrongdoings. It basically happened during the Covid-19 pandemic last year, he added.
He said pre-paid metres are being installed in Dhaka city to make sure that consumers do not get any inflated bills.
The state minister urged the shop owners to maintain the closing time of shops and markets by 8 pm. "Power consumers, including shop owners, must extend their support in ensuring discipline," he told the webinar.
Disagreeing with the claim of Desco and DPDC about the decline in system losses, Helal Uddin said the distribution companies have no success in reducing system losses.
"Rather, they're increasing their revenue by issuing inflated bills through which they are ultimately showing successes," he said.
Power Secretary Habibur Rahman said such complaints against Desco and DPDC for inflated bills is unfortunate as the government has no intention to make a profit from the power distribution business.
Overhead Electricity Cables
Bikash Dewan said an Australian consulting firm is preparing a design for replacing the overhead electricity cables with an underground network.
He said Covid-19 has seriously disrupted their move. "But we're hopeful of expediting our project soon."
Kawsar Ameer Ali said Desco has taken a project to install several underground substations in its area as part of its move to take the network underground.
He said a modern multi-storey building will be built which will also have substations for the operation of the distribution network.