The government bragged about 100 per cent self-sufficiency in electricity in March this year. Less than four months later, an hourly 'planned' loadshedding was announced in July. The duration of power cut was even longer than that announce. It was said that the loadshedding was temporary and normalcy would be restored from October. The situation exacerbated even more in October while in some places it went to an insufferable level.
Prothom Alo reports that electricity cannot be produced as per demand due to the energy crisis. As a result, power generation plants are lying idle. But according to the contract, the rent or capacity charge of the power plants has to be paid. The maximum loadshedding of 2000 to 2200 MW per day from July to September has climbed to 2500 to 3000 MW now.
It is the highest in the last three months. There is no electricity for three to five hours in different areas of the capital. And loadshedding is being carried out from 7 to 15 hours in many areas outside the capital. Due to frequent loadshedding, people are suffering unspeakably and industrial production is also affected.
When loadshedding was supposed to be at a tolerable level, it has instead increased, raising many questions and apprehensions in the public mind. But the government and the Ministry of Power, Energy and Mineral Resources have no clear statement about why the situation has worsened and when it will be restored. It seems that they are relying on nature to reduce loadshedding. They are waiting for winter to come, when the demand for electricity will decrease.
Energy experts say that the demand for electricity decreases in winter. As a result, the situation will automatically improve from November. The most alarming question that has come to the fore is that when the summer season starts from March next year, will the situation worsen again?
As the world is recovering from Covid pandemic, there has been a gap in the country's import and export trade. Again, the price of fuel in the world market was very high due to the Russia-Ukraine war. Because of these an extreme dollar crunch has been created because of which it is not possible to keep the power plants running by importing diesel, gas, furnace oil, coal as per demand.
Experts related to the country's energy and power sector say that the government's short-sighted policies and wrong plans in the energy sector are responsible for today's crisis. They have been speaking of these for many years but the government has not paid attention to them. The government continued to import from abroad without increasing the resources of energy from own sources. As a result, on the one hand, the country has the capacity to produce electricity twice as much as the demand, while on the other hand, electricity is being imported.
Extra dependence on imports in the energy sector has made the country's energy security questionable. The weakness of this sector has come to light due to the increase in the price of energy in the world market. The United Nations, the World Bank and the IMF have recently predicted a long-term global recession. It can be clearly construed that this power crisis is not temporary at all.
There is no alternative but to adopt a self-reliant sustainable energy policy rather than relying on imports. But the question is whether the government is thinking that way? Even if the government starts to consider the alternatives, it would take time. It is understood that there is no relief from suffering for now. Why should people pay for the government's wrong policy? How will the officials of power sector explain this?