Power generation at the Rampal thermal power plant in Bagerhat has come to a halt once again – for the sixth time since production started last December – due to a shortage of coal.
The production of the first unit was stopped at 3:30am on Sunday (30 July) because of a shortage of coal, said Anwarul Azim, deputy general manager of Bangladesh-India Friendship Power Company Limited (BIFPCL).
"All procedures have been completed for importing coal," he said, adding that the production might resume when more coal arrives in the country on 8 August.
Earlier on 16 July, the plant was shut down due to a turbine malfunction. Production resumed four days later after the turbine was repaired.
Since the start of power generation at the Rampal thermal power plant on 17 December last year, the plant has been shut down six times in seven months. It was shut down previously on 14 January, then on 15 April, 23 April, 30 June and 16 July.
As the production of the power plant's first unit was repeatedly stopped, experts in the power sector are worried about a smooth start of the second unit's production.
The 1,320 MW coal-fired power plant has been set up at a cost of approximately $2 billion and is located in Rampal, in the Bagerhat district under the Khulna division of Bangladesh.
The Maitree Super Thermal Power Project was constructed under the Indian government's concessional financing scheme.
On 6 September 2022, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and her Indian counterpart Narendra Modi jointly unveiled unit-1 of the power plant.
Earlier on 5 June this year, the Payra 1,320MW Thermal Power Plant in Patuakhali, another major power station of the southern region, shut off completely with the closure of its second unit amid persisting coal shortage. On 25 May, the first unit of the plant was closed down.
On 25 June, the Payra Thermal Power Plant resumed production with one unit coming into operation, supplying around 600MW.
Meanwhile, the first unit of the coal-powered Matarbari power plant in Maheshkhali upazila of Cox's Bazar started production on a trial basis on 29 July. Some 150 MW of electricity from the 600 MW unit-1 of the plant was synchronised with the national grid.