The 24 overloaded 132/33 kV substations of the Power Grid Company of Bangladesh (PGCB) in different districts are quickly becoming a threat to rural electricity supply.
Out of the 105 such substations, from which 80 Palli Bidyut Samities of the Bangladesh Rural Electrification Board (BREB) provide electricity to remote areas of Bangladesh, some are already being used beyond their capacity.
However, by next summer, 14 such substations will be used at over 100 percent of their capacities, which could disrupt electricity supply in rural areas.
These substations could halt the government's 100 percent electrification programme, which has already been delayed by six months.
They could also damage the electric equipment of consumers due to low voltage and frequent power outages.
Sensing the threat, the BREB sent a list of over-loaded grid substations to the PGCB last September.
Golam Kibria, managing director of PGCB confirmed that his company has received such a list from BREB and other distribution companies.
"I already told my department concerned to undertake the necessary initiatives to upgrade the overloaded substations," he stated.
Kibria added that they are implementing some projects to upgrade the transmission system under the G to G programme. "So, the overloaded substations will be renovated in due time."
According to data by the Power Division, in the last ten years, the electricity generation capacity has increased almost four times, and the number of beneficiaries also rose by a significant number.
In 2009, the total power generation capacity was 4,942 megawatts, but it has now surged to around 18,000 megawatts.
Almost 94 percent of the total population has come under electrification coverage, according to the Power Division.
To ensure the use of the highest amount of the electricity generation capacity, the government has taken several initiatives. In 2016, the government took the hundred percent electrification programme which was scheduled to be completed by December last year.
But as of now, out of 461 upazilas, only 234 have received electricity connections.
In 2009, the total transmission line was 8,000 square kilometres. In the last ten years, only 3,800 square kilometres of new transmission line was added to the grid.
At present, the transmission company has five types of substations across the country, one of which is the 132/33k substation.
Compared to the massive increase in generation capacity, the transmission capacity has not increased by a similar amount, leaving some parts of the country in the dark.
Both transmission lines and grid substations are still below the required amount.
Even heavy industries are suffering from power outages, load fluctuations, and power interruptions, due to the lack of transmission capacity.
These risky and overloaded substations remain the prime cause of lower use of electricity in the industry sector.
Industries do not get quality and uninterrupted electricity due to over-loaded substations, causing losses for the power sector as the government is being unable to utilise the massive power generation capacity.