Why excessive load shedding?

EditorialProthom Alo illustration

When the government decided to implement load-shedding in July as power generation fell short compared to demand, the public accepted despite the difficulty. The suppliers also made a schedule as to where, when and how much load shedding will be staged. It was said that there will be load shedding for one hour a day in Dhaka and two hours outside Dhaka. But in reality the duration of load shedding is much longer, which is not only disrupting the normal life of people but also putting severe pressure on the economy.

According to Prothom Alo news, load-shedding is happening for 5 to 10 hours depending on the area. The demand for electricity in the industrial city of Gazipur was 353 MW on Monday where only 244 MW was available. The announced schedule was supposed to have load shedding for three hours, but customers in some areas were deprived of power cut for 10 to 12 hours. The news of breaking the schedule has been received from many other places of the country including Dhaka.

The government said that the situation will gradually improve. But in recent times the situation has worsened further. Last Sunday, the deficit in the DESCO area was 400 MW. On the other hand, load shedding in DPDC area was 360 MW. Residents outside Dhaka, especially in Rural Electrification Board (REB) areas, have to bear the brunt of load shedding for longer periods. On that day, load shedding up to 2,149 MW was imposed in REB area. Earlier, the government's decision to swap weekends in industrial areas also did not come into effect.

As the load shedding was introduced, it was assumed that the problem would be solved if the people maintain frugality for a few days. After that, the government increased the price of fuel oil from 42 to 51 per cent. This has intensified the suffering of all classes of people, especially the low-income and marginalised ones in cities and villages. In large cities, people use generators to supply power with diesel in apartments, shopping malls and markets during load-shedding. Rural areas do not have this facility.

Prime minister Sheikh Hasina said last month regarding load shedding, “Make a schedule for how long load shedding will be carried out in which area. Because, the people can be prepared for it and their suffering can be minimised.” But the concerned persons of the power department are not following her instructions and are carrying out load shedding arbitrarily.

According to energy experts, if the massive corruption and wastage in the electricity and gas sectors in the country could be reduced, the people would not have to go through this unbearable power cut. Millions are being wasted in the name of system loss in the power sector. We are not aware of any action against those responsible for this.

The government has fixed the load shedding schedule discreetly. It should be investigated why the schedule is being disrupted and people have to remain without power for hours. Action should be taken against the responsible persons and institutions.

We hope the minister and adviser of the concerned department will do something effective to reduce the suffering of the people and the loss of the economy instead of giving illusory assurances. Unscheduled load shedding must stop.