Payra power plant shuts down completely

Payra power plant at Kalapara, PatuakhaliCollected

Coal shortage prompts complete shutdown of Payra thermal power plant today, Monday.

The country’s biggest power plant has been closed due to outstanding bills caused by dollar crunch. The power plant may resume power generation by the end of June after the fresh coal shipment arrives.

Following three years of uninterrupted operations, Payra Power Plant underwent its first outage, potentially leading to a rise in load shedding.

Earlier, Bagerhat's Rampal power plant was shut down twice due to the dollar crisis. However, it has now resumed production.

Payra Power Plant is owned by the Bangladesh-China Power Company (BCPC), a joint venture of China and Bangladesh.

Two units of Payra Power Plant in Patuakhali have a combined production capacity of 1,320 MW.

Two officials of BCPC, wishing to remain anonymous, told Prothom Alo, the power plant had been producing 1200 MW electricity on an average per day for the past few days. A unit of the plant stopped production due to coal shortage on 25 May. The remaining unit with a capacity of 660 MW had been producing 300 to 620 MW on an average per day which was said to run until 2 June. It was operated for two more days by reducing production. Finally it shut down today.

Sources in Payra power plant said it may take at least 25 days for the coal to arrive. Power generation may resume in the last week of June. Letter of credit (LC) has been opened to import coal. The vessel is scheduled to load coal on 12 June.

BCPC managing director AM Khurshedul Alam confirmed to Prothom Alo that the production of Payra power plant was completely stopped at 12:30 pm on Monday.

Khurshedul Alam told Prothom Alo that the outstanding bills of USD 100 million have been paid. Following this, the supplier company will resume supplying coal. Efforts are underway to bring coal as fast as posssible.

Power Development Board (PDB) officials say that the Payra power plant had been generating power uninterruptedly for three years. The country's most reliable power plant will shut down due to shortage of coal and the production will be significantly reduced. This will create a gap between the demand and supply of electricity. As a result load shedding may increase. Already many power plants are not running due to shortage of gas.