Power generation in Payra plant to stop

Payra power plant at Kalapara, PatuakhaliCollected

Power generation in Payra thermal power plant is being halted due to coal shortage. Coal supply has been stopped to the country's largest power plant for bills outstanding due to dollar crunch. Production can continue in one unit till 2 June with the existing coal stock.

This is the first time that Payra power plant is shutting down completely after it went into production three years ago and this may lead to increased load shedding.

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

Two units of Payra Power Plant in Patuakhali have a combined production capacity of 1,320 megawatt. Two officials of this plant who wish not to be named told Prothom Alo that this plant was supplying more than 1,200 MW of electricity per day. One unit was shut down on 25 May due to shortage of coal. Now only 450 MW per day is being generated from the remaining unit with a capacity of 660 MW. This unit can operate till 2 June. After that, the entire production may stop for about a month from 3 June.

Bangladesh-China Power Company (BCPC) managing director AM Khurshedul Alam told Prothom Alo on Saturday that the Bangladesh Bank is also trying to maintain dollar supply amid the global crisis. It already has assured to arrange 100 million US dollars within this month. Of this, 58 million dollars has already been arranged. They are trying to convince the coal suppliers with this amount.

They can start supplying coal again through this. He said, “It may take 25 days for shipment of coal to arrive. Power generation can start again in the last week of June.”

Power Development Board (PDB) officials say that they have been getting uninterrupted electricity from Pyara for three years. Power production will reduce significantly if the country's most reliable power plant is shut down due to coal shortage. There will be a huge gap between demand and supply which may lead to spike in load shedding. Many power plants are already inoperative due to shortage of gas supply.

After being closed for 23 days due to the energy crisis, the coal-fired Rampal thermal power plant returned to production on 16 May at 9:10 pm. The Rampal power plant was shut down due to mechanical failure on 15 April. It resumed production after four days. The power plant was closed again from 24 April due to shortage of coal. The power plant was built by Bangladesh-India Friendship Power Company Limited (BIFPCL).

Earlier, power generation at this plant was stopped from 14 January due to coal shortage. Failing to open letter of credit (LC) because of the dollar crisis, led to complications with coal import. At one point the supply of coal stopped. The power plant returned to production after a month.

The India-Bangladesh joint-venture Rampal power plant has shut down several times since a unit came into production last December. After almost 10 years of the agreement, the first unit of this power plant started supplying electricity commercially on 23 December last year.

BIFPCL deputy general manager Anwarul Azim told Prothom Alo that there is no fear of a halt in coal supply for now. Now the power plant has another 25 days of coal stock. The process of coal import is underway.