Sale of rechargeable fans has increased in Dhaka and other parts of the country due to huge load shedding since 19 July
Prothom Alo file photo

Despite some improvement in the power supply, the frequency of planned load shedding has not decreased. The government has been implementing area-wise load shedding in the country since 19 July. However, the schedule of load shedding is not being followed properly in many rural areas.

Though the time of planned power cut in other big cities has come down, the situation has not improved in Dhaka. The people of Dhaka city and its surrounding areas have been suffering the most these days, said officials of six power distribution companies in the country.

The officials further said they are forced to implement load shedding as they have been receiving less amount of electricity than the demand.

There was an eight-hour schedule for load shedding in Shyampur area in Dhaka on Sunday while many city areas have been experiencing three to four hours power cut every day.

Power Development Board (PDB) is the only government agency that supplies electricity to the distribution companies. PDB sources said despite having capacities to produce electricity it cannot do so due to lack of fuel. Over 50 per cent of the power generation plants have been sitting idle due to lack of gas supply.

Speaking to Prothom Alo, state minister for power, energy, and mineral resources Nasrul Hamid said they cannot bring electricity from western zone and cannot run oil-run private sector power plants as the bills are due there. “That’s why we are forced to implement load shedding in Dhaka. But there is no load shedding in the districts in western zone.”

The generation of power in the western districts is better than the demand, mainly due to coal-based Payra power plant. That’s why people in Barishal, Khulna, Rajshahi and Rangpur division are in a relatively better condition. The time of scheduled load shedding in Chattogram and Sylhet has come down.

But the Cumilla region in Chattogram has been experiencing the power cut while most of the areas of Dhaka city, Savar, Keraniganj, Manikganj, Gazipur, Narayanganj, Mymensingh, Netrokona have been experiencing frequent load shedding.

The government on 18 July announced to implement countrywide load shedding due to power crisis. Following the announcement the planned area-wise load shedding began on 19 July.

Though the situation improved in September, it worsened in October. The situation remains a bit better on the weekly holidays.

Tamanna Akhter, a resident of Mohammadpur in Dhaka told Prothom Alo that they have been experiencing power cut for around five to six times in a day. The schedule is also not followed properly. Sometimes, the load shedding is being implemented at midnight.

Dhaka Power Distribution Company (DPDC) managing director Bikash Dewan Chakma told Prothom Alo that the situation has improved a bit. The load shedding time has been brought down to two hours in many areas.

Amir Kausar Ali, managing director of Dhaka Electric Supply Company Limited (DESCO), another power distribution company in Dhaka said the frequency of load shedding has decreased a lot. There is no need to implement load shedding for more than two hours in day time.

However, Bangladesh Rural Electrification Board (REB), the largest power distribution company in the country, is not in comfort about providing electricity to areas adjacent to Dhaka, specially the industrial areas.

An REB official told Prothom Alo that they are forced to implement load shedding in areas under 12 rural electrification samities around Dhaka. “Around 1000MW load shedding was implemented in areas under a total of 28 rural electrification samities on Sunday afternoon. The situation was the same the whole day.”

Officials of the distribution companies have been saying that they have been receiving complaints the whole day. They can’t supply electricity to industries as well. They have been facing stern criticisms of the people. They have no other alternative than implementing load shedding if they do not get the supply.