Rural people hit hard by load shedding amid heatwave

Amid scorching heat, people in rural areas bear the brunt of load shedding due to shortage in power supply .  

As the country’s temperature rises and offices and industrial factories reopen, the demand for power is increasing again.

According to the sources of power department, Power Development Board (PDB) and Power Grid Company of Bangladesh (PGCB), the power production capacity in the country is about 26,000 megawatt.

Average daily production ranges between 13,000 to 15,000 MW while the demand is between 13,500 to 16,000 MW.

During the daytime on Monday, load shedding was around 1500 megawatts across the country.

However, the two power distribution companies of Dhaka, DPDC and DESCO, said that there is no shortage of electricity supply in the capital but some areas are undergoing power outages due to technical reasons.

Customers complain of not getting electricity for up to 30 minutes a day. PDB, West Zone Power Distribution Company Limited, NESCO and REB supply electricity outside Dhaka.

REB provides electricity to most rural areas of the country. Customers of this company are mainly suffering from load shedding. 55 per cent of total electricity consumers are under this company.

REB sources said maximum load shedding was 690 MW an hour last Saturday. It increased to 824 MW on Sunday and increased further to about 1,300 MW yesterday, Monday.

REB’s demand during the day yesterday was 8,800 MW. At this time, 7,500 megawatts were supplied.

Load shedding has to be done in various areas to meet the deficit. Mymensingh region is undergoing maximum load shedding followed by Rangpur, Cumilla, Rajshahi region and the surrounding districts of Dhaka.

PDB officials said power production has increased after gas supply increased. Power from coal can also be generated at maximum capacity. But maximum production cannot be availed from furnace oil-fired power plants due to issue of due payment. This led to a deficit in supply.

In Mymensingh, rural areas are experiencing more load shedding than city areas. Lutfur Rahman, a resident of Pumbail village under Gouripur upazila, said frequent load shedding has added to the suffering of people.

Mymensingh REB-3’s general manager Mohammad Abul Kalam Azad said load shedding ranged between 24 per cent and 43 per cent had to be enforced in an hour on Monday daytime. Higher authorities have been urged to increase power supply.

Rangpur city areas are experiencing load shedding between 2 and 3 hours while over eight hours of load shedding imposed in rural areas. Power outages are more at night.

Ashraful Alam, a resident of Nobonidas village in Gangachhara upazila, said power comes for an hour to go for two hours at night. Situation is a bit better in the daytime.

Rangpur REB-2’s deputy general manager Khorshed Alam said eight hours of load shedding had to be imposed due to supply deficit.

Consumers Association of Bangladesh’s (CAB) energy adviser M Shamsul Alam told Prothom Alo that power cannot be generated despite increase in capacity. Now the government is paying capacity charges while the power plants sit idle.

He said the authorities should impose load shedding equally in city and rural areas so that people in fringe areas only don’t suffer from the power supply deficit.

(Staff Correspondent, Rangpur and correspondent, Mymensingh contributed to this report)