Rural areas sees more load shedding than cities

Two children study in candlelight in Bastuhara of Khulna city on 4 July 2022 after frequent power outages hit various parts of the city like elsewhere in the country.
Saddam Hossain

Bangladesh Power Development Board (BPDB) on Wednesday generated slightly more power than a day before. Rain also hit various parts of the country, lowering the temperature, reducing demand of electricity and thus bringing a little relief to the power sector. As a result, less load shedding hit the country than the previous day.

However, Bangladesh Rural Electrification Board (BREB) maintained load shedding in rural areas hour after hour since they received less electricity that demand.

The government has taken various measures including an hour-wise planned load shedding to save fuel in order to reduce pressure on foreign exchange. Routine of load shedding could not be maintained outside Dhaka on the second day on Wednesday.

The BPDB released data on he daily demand and production of electricity the next day. Maximum 11,742 megawatts of electricity was generated on Tuesday but Wednesday saw 12,051 megawatts of electricity generation against a demand of 14,200 megawatts of electricity, resulting in a deficit of 2,189 megawatts of electricity.

An official of BPDB said on an average load shedding for more than two hours was necessary to meet this deficit of electricity. The official told Prothom Alo an hour's load shedding saves 976 megawatts of electricity and predicted demand decreased because of rain, causing less power outage.

Six companies distribute electricity across the country with Dhaka Power Distribution Company (DPDC) Dhaka Electric Supply Company (DESCO) supplying electricity to Dhaka and Narayanganj cities.

There was two hours of rain in Dhaka on Wednesday, brining down the temperature and the demand of electricity slightly. Both DPDC and DESCO maintained load shedding for an hour. DPDC had a deficit of maximum 110 megawatts of electricity on Wednesday and it was 150 megawatts in the previous day. DPDC managing director Bikash Dewan told Prothom Alo load shedding occurred as per the routine for the day.

Daily deficit of electricity fell to 150 megawatts on Wednesday from 93 megawatts on the previous day in DESCO’s jurisdiction, which usually sees a demand of 1,000 megawatts of electricity a day. But it dropped to 900 megawatts since Wednesday afternoon. DESCO managing director Kawsar Amir Ali told Prothom Alo the demand saw a slight drop because of rain so no load shedding occurred since the afternoon.

BREB supplies electricity to major areas of the country excluding Dhaka and other cities. The organisation has about 32.5 million (3.25 core) out of 42.5 million (4.25 crore) subscribers enjoying electricity and it also distributes about 55 per cent of the entire electricity through 80 Palli Bidyut Samities.

On Tuesday, BREB maintained maximum 1,915 megawatts of load shedding as the it received 6,481 megawatts of electricity against a demand of 6,481 megawatts. On Wednesday, it had a deficit of maximum 1,300 megawatts of electricity during the day but deficit fell since the afternoon. BREB had a deficit of about 1,000 megawatts around 7:00pm but could not follow its load shedding routine released by Palli Bidyut Samity due to high demand.

Speaking to Prothom Alo, BREB member Debasish Chakraborty said Palli Bidyut Samity has been trying to follow the routine on load shedding and the situation improved slightly on Wednesday compared to Tuesday. Power supply had increased and the situation will improve gradually, he added.

According to BREB sources, the situation got a bit worse in the neighbouring areas of Dhaka and the districts of Mymensingh and Rangpur zones since Palli Bidyut Samity of these areas received very low supply of electricity compared to the demand, resulting in power outage for hour after hour.

West Zone Power Distribution Company (WZPDCL) supplies electricity to cities, district and upazilas in the south-western region while Northern Electricity Supply Company (NESCO) supplies to cities in northern region and BPDB supplies it to parts of the country that includes both urban and rural areas.

Frequent load shedding is hitting eight districts of Rangpur divisions since power supply falls to half the demand with rural areas seeing more power outage than urban areas. There is a demand of 950-1,000 megawatts of electricity in Rangpur division daily but, 500 megawatts of electricity was supplied throughout the day on Wednesday.

Speaking to Prothom Alo, lawyer Begum Helali from Gaibandha said load shedding occurred three times for over an hour between morning and afternoon on Wednesday.

NESCO chief engineer of Rangpur regional office said power is being supplied non-stop to several emergency places including hospitals. He told Prothom Alo they are getting half the electricity compared to the demand for eight districts of Rangpur division. As a result, the routine of load shedding could not be maintained.

This report appeared in the print and online edition of Prothom Alo and has been rewritten in English by Hasanul Banna