Despite lower electricity demand on weekend people suffer

CNG stations are not being able to supply gas due to lack of electricity in most of the time of the daySajid Hossain

During the weekend on Friday and Saturday when consumers expect an uninterrupted power supply against a lower electricity demand they had no luck this week.

Power cuts on Friday were like a usual working day when demand for electricity soars as offices and businesses operate, reports UNB.

Official figures show, though the situation has improved to a certain level following the restoration of power supply across the country after a 7-hour national grid failure on October 4, still the power generation could not reach the previous level.

According to officials, Dhaka city and adjoining areas experienced more than 500 MW of power shortages daily against a demand of 2500 MW on Friday and Saturday.

Officials of both Dhaka Power Distribution Company Limited (DPDC) and Dhaka Electric Supply Company Limited (Desco), which distribute electricity to Dhaka city and surrounding areas admitted that the power supply situation have deteriorated in recent days and now they have to resort to load shedding for more than three hours a day.

However, residents in both Desco and DPDC areas alleged that they have been experiencing power cuts for 3-6 hours a day.

“We have been experiencing more than 5 hours of load shedding on a number of occasions”, said Abdur Rahman Jahangir, a resident of Rampura area.

Similar allegations are being received from the residents of other areas under both DPDC and Desco.

DPDC is managing power supply with 300 MW of less electricity in the daytime and the outage level might go up further in the night, said Bikash Dewan, managing director of the company.

DPDC is responsible for power distribution to the central and west and south-west part of Dhaka city and parts of Narayanganj.

“We’ve to struggle with the relatively lower supply from the BPDB for DPDC areas where most key point installations (KPIs) including official residences of the President and the Prime Minister, cantonments and most public hospitals are located”, he told UNB.

DPDC received 1,100 MW at 7 am on Saturday against a demand of 1400 MW while the demand remains between 1650 and 1700 MW on a working day, he noted. The situation was almost similar on Friday as well.

Md Kausar Ameer Ali, managing director of Desco, which distributes power to the north and east parts of Dhaka city and Tongi industrial hub, said that the distribution entity is receiving 750 MW of electricity against a demand for 932 with a load shedding of 182 MW.

"In the evening, the extent of load shedding might increase in Desco areas”, he told UNB.

A top official of the Bangladesh Power Development Board (BPDB), quoting official data, said that the country’s highest power generation was 12,889 MW on Friday against a relatively lower demand of 13,900 MW while load shedding was recorded to be 1011 MW.

According to him, who preferred not to be named, the highest demand forecast for Saturday is 13,600 MW while generation forecast is 12,435 MW and load shedding is expected to be 1,165 MW across the country.

The country’s total power generation capacity is about 25,500 MW. But as part of austerity measures, the government kept all the diesel-fired plants closed while a good number of plants remained out of operation for a shortage in gas supply.

The official also admitted that the official figures sometimes do not rightly reflect the actual deficit in power supply as the figure is made based on the generation amount recorded at the power stations’ end.

“But when the electricity reaches consumers’ end, automatically 10-13 percent of electricity is lost in the system itself as there are their own consumptions by the power stations, substations and transmission systems”, he said.

So, people usually get 10-13 per cent less electricity than the figure shows, he said.

Meanwhile, officials of the BPDB informed that the still Ghorashal power station was not able to resume generation in full swing.

The power station is generating a total 210 MW against a capacity of 700 MW as still 6 generation units, out of total 7, could not come back into generation, he said adding, the situation will improve in Dhaka when the remaining 6 units, having about a capacity of 500 MW, could add to the generation.