Payra power plant to resume production as coal arrives

Payra thermal power plant at PatuakhaliFile Photo

Payra thermal power plant in Patuakhali is to resume power generation with the arrival of coal.

Unloading coal from the vessel has begun today, Friday. The plant is scheduled to resume production from Sunday. Managing director of Bangladesh-China Power Company (BCPC), AM Khorshedul Alam, informed Prothom Alo of the matter. BCPC owns Payra power plant.

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The two units of Payra power plant jointly have the capacity to generate 1320 MW of electricity. With no coal, the plant fully halted operations on 5 June. Coal supply had been held up as the bills were overdue due to the dollar crunch. Later speedy action was taken to procure coal.

According to BCPC sources, the first vessel carrying 40,000 tonnes of coal arrived today, Friday. The second vessel will arrive in three or four days.

Payra power plant went into production three years ago. This has been the first time since then that the power plant halted production completely. This led to increased load-shedding.

Earlier, the Rampal power plant in Bagerhat was closed down twice as coal could not be purchased due to the dollar crisis. The plant, however, has now resumed production.

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Speaking to Prothom Alo, the BCPC managing director AM Khorshedul Alam said, “Unloading of coal from the first vessel has started today. Power generation will begin from day after tomorrow (Sunday). The vessels with coal will arrive regularly now. So there is no worry for the time being about uninterrupted power supply from this plant.”

Several officials of BCPC told Prothom Alo that the plant for quite some time had been supplying 1200 MW of electricity a day on average. Then on 25 May one unit stopped production due to the lack of coal. The 660 MW capacity unit was then generating 300 to 620 MW a day. This was supposed to continue till 2 June, but production was decreased and continued for two extra days. Then on 5 June generation came to a complete halt.

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BCPC sources told Prothom Alo, the dollar crunch led to around USD 300 million in overdue bills and so the foreign supplier held up coal supply. Later USD 100 million of the dues was paid. The supplier firm then resumed supply.