Bangladesh hikes power price again in just 3 weeks

News Desk :

The government has increased the retail power price again — by 5 per cent — along with an increase in the bulk price by over 8 per cent just 18 days after it had hiked the retail price on January 12 this year.

The new retail prices and charges, announced for all 23 consumer categories, will be effective from February 1, said a gazette notification published on Monday but made available on Tuesday.

From today, the weighted average price of electricity will be Tk 7.82 per kilowatt hour, up from 7.13 kWh, according to the government circular.

That means a consumer who used to pay Tk 1,000 a month will now have to pay Tk 1,100 for consuming the same amount of electricity.

From now on, the government will adjust the electricity price every month, Nasrul Hamid, the state minister for power, energy and mineral resources, told The Daily Star.

“If the fuel prices in the international market have increased, we will increase the price. If not, we will not. We want to get rid of subsidy — that is the main goal,” he added.

The latest hike has left people in a state of confusion.

Take the case of Mahbubur Rahman, who works at a private company. He said he mistook the recent price hike with the increase on January 12.

“I could not believe that the government would hike the electricity price again so soon. It’s unbelievable. We have a limited income. How can it be possible to survive if they hike prices continuously,” he added.

Inflation averaged 8.76 percent in the first six months of the fiscal year, up from 5.7 percent a year earlier, according to data from the Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics.

Ahsan H Mansur, executive director of the Policy Research Institute, also mistook the recent price hike with the last one.

“Why are you saying that the government hiked the electricity price again? They just hiked the price some days ago. Isn’t it that price hike you are talking about?” Mansur questioned when the correspondent contacted him for comment.

Economists and energy experts said the government lacked a clear strategy for bringing subsidies to zero.

They were also critical about putting the price burden on the consumers instead of curbing corruption and illogical expenditure on the electricity production side.

“We are not seeing any strategy; rather they are hiking electricity prices by themselves. And why will all the burden be put on the consumers?” said Mansur, also the chairman of Brac Bank.

There are lots of ways to cut the government’s burden like decreasing system loss, sharing the burden with the power producers and so on.

“If the government hikes Tk 10 per unit, at least Tk 3 should be shared with the power producers. They have been getting capacity charges for years and now it’s time [for them] to share the burden too.”

He went on to advise the government to form a strategy by taking inputs from all stakeholders on how to reduce the subsidy.

Khondaker Golam Moazzem, research director of the Centre for Policy Dialogue, echoed Mansur’s view.

The government needs to bring changes in the expenditure structure to make it more efficient instead of passing on all the burden to consumers.

“There are questions about huge capacity payments to the private power plants, delays in phasing out rental and inefficient plants. But the government didn’t solve those problems, and hiked prices continuously,” he said, while urging the government to use the Bangladesh Energy Regulatory Commission to identify the loopholes in the system.

The government raised the price bypassing the public hearing of the BERC, a day after passing a law in parliament that allowed the government to fix all kinds of energy prices.

M Shamsul Alam, senior vice-president of the Consumers Association of Bangladesh, questioned the pricing process bypassing the BERC.

“We don’t know in what process the government is fixing the prices,” he said.

The gas-electricity price hike is as per the prescription of the International Monetary Fund, said Anu Muhammad, former member secretary of the National Committee to Protect Oil, Gas, Mineral Resources, Power and Ports.

“The government has no problem with this as all the burden will be put on the consumers. All the products’ prices will be hiked except the wages,” he added.

Some political parties expressed worry about the government’s move.

Ganosamhati Andolon said in a statement that with such a decision, the government is increasing the expenses for people who are nearing starvation.

Communist Party of Bangladesh said it is not acceptable that the government is hiking electricity and gas prices while hiding the truth.

“Wrong policy, corruption, mismanagement and system losses are the main reasons behind the high production cost,” it said in a statement.

Leftist Democratic Alliance demanded the phasing out of rental and quick rental power plants and the withdrawal of the high capacity charges that were being paid in the name of subsidy.

– Input from The Daily Star was used in this article.

Related News

Moon not seen, Ramadan begins on Friday

News Desk : The holy month of Ramadan, when Muslims engage in self-purification through fasting and abstinence, begins in the country from Friday as the new crescent moon was not sighted in Bangladesh’s night sky this evening. The National Moon Sighting Committee took the decision at a meeting held at the Islamic Foundation’s Baitul ... Read more

Saudi Arabia confirms first day of Ramadan 2023

News Desk : Saudi Arabia announced Thursday, March 23 as the first day of Ramadan 2023. Observers were unable to spot the new moon on Tuesday, the sighting committee reported, meaning the holy month will not commence until Thursday. Wednesday will be the last day of the month of Shabaan, which precedes Ramadan, the ... Read more

Sculptor Shamim Sikder dies

News Desk : Ekushey Padak awardee sculptor and former professor of Dhaka University Shamim Sikder died this afternoon. She died around 4:30pm while being treated at the United Hospital Limited in Dhaka, Imran Hossain, a curator of Shamim Sikder Sculpture Park, confirmed. The 70-year-old artist was suffering from multiple illnesses, including cardiovascular, respiratory and ... Read more

Hajj flights begin on May 21

News Desk : This year’s hajj flights will start on May 21, Biman’s Managing Director and CEO Shafiqul Azim said today. The return hajj flights will begin on August 2, said the Biman boss during a press conference at the Biman Headquarters in the city’s Kurmitola this afternoon. The national flag carrier will operate ... Read more

No scope to curtail this year’s hajj airfare: Biman CEO

News Desk : Biman will not slash this year’s hajj airfare despite calls from different quarters, including the religious affairs ministry and a parliamentary watchdog, for reducing the ticket price. There is no scope to curtail the hajj airfare, said Biman’s Managing Director and CEO Shafiqul Azim during a press conference at its headquarters ... Read more

Madaripur road accident claims 19 lives

News Desk : At least 19 people were killed and over a dozen injured as a bus fell into a roadside ditch at Kutubpur under Shibpur upazila in Madaripur district on Sunday morning. Identities of the deceased could not be known immediately. The accident took place minutes after 7:30am on Sunday, said Madaripur Highway ... Read more

Rainfall is predicted to rise during the following 3 days

News Desk : Rainfall or thunder showers may increase in the country in the next 72 hours, Bangladesh Meteorological Department said in a forecast today. The 24-hour forecast issued at 9:00am said that the trough of westerly low lies over West Bengal and adjoining area and the seasonal low lies over the South Bay. ... Read more

Hajj registration: Deadline extended ‘for the last time

News Desk : The government today extended the deadline for hajj registration “for the last time” amid concerns that the quota for the annual pilgrimage won’t be fulfilled. According to a circular of the Religious Affairs Ministry issued this evening, the deadline for hajj registration has been extended till March 21. In the circular ... Read more

2 more Metrorail stations open to public from today

News Desk : The Kazipara and Mirpur-11 stations of the country’s first-ever metro rail service was opened to public this morning. Metro rail has started picking up and dropping passengers at the Kazipara and Mirpur-11 stations.For all latest news, follow The Daily Star’s Google News channel. MAN Siddique, managing director of Dhaka Mass Transit ... Read more

This hajj package inhuman: High Court

News Desk : The High Court today said this year’s hajj package is inhuman as its cost is so high. Those who are involved in fixing this costly hajj package will become sharers of the sin, the HC bench of Justice KM Kamrul Kader and Justice Mohammad Ali during the hearing of a writ ... Read more

Woman dials 999 to surrender after killing husband

News Desk : A woman from Rajapur upazila in Jhalakathi called the National Emergency Service 999 early Monday claiming that she had killed her husband. Safia Khatun, 33, called the hotline-999 to surrender to the law after killing her husband autorickshaw driver Rabiul Awal Talukder. Emergency service call operator Constable Ikramul, who received the ... Read more

Fire Service, 9 people to receive Swadhinata Padak 2023

News Desk : The government has choosen 9 individuals and one institution for this year’s Swadhinata Padak (Independence Award), in recognition of their outstanding contributions to the country. The Cabinet Division has issued a notification in this regard on Thursday (9 March). Six recipients of the award freedom fighter Colonel (retired) Samsul Alam, Lieutenant ... Read more

Sehri and Iftar times for Ramadan 2023 released

News Desk : The Islamic Foundation released the timings of Sehri and Iftar for holy Ramadan on Monday. The holy month of Ramadan is expected to begin on March 24, subject to viewing the moon, according to the schedule published by the Islamic Foundation on Monday. It also said that the list of timings ... Read more

Bangladeshis are eligible to obtain dual citizenship in 44 more countries

News Desk : Bangladeshis will also be able to obtain citizenship in 44 countries, including Brazil and Argentina, following the approval of a proposal by the Cabinet. Currently, the Bangladeshis who acquired citizenship in 57 countries are enjoying this facility. With the addition of 44 new countries, those having citizenship from a total of ... Read more

A woman dies from pregnancy or childbirth every two minutes, UN report says

News Desk : Despite maternal mortality rates declining by a third in 20 years, a woman dies every two minutes from complications related to pregnancy or childbirth, according to a report released by the UN on Thursday. Rates dramatically decreased between 2000 and 2015, but between 2016 and 2020, they mostly stagnated, and in ... Read more

SSC exams to begin on 30 April

News Desk : This year’s Secondary School Certificate and its equivalent exams will start from April 30, about two months later than the usual time, due to the fallout of Covid-19 pandemic. Usually, during the pre-Covid period, SSC exams began in the first week of February. Chairman of Dhaka Education Board Tapan Kumar Sarkar ... Read more

Nibir’s condition improving but still in danger, family members say

News Desk : Doctors warned Kumar Nibir’s family that although his condition is improving, he is still in danger. Nibir was badly hurt in a car accident that killed three Bangladeshi students in Toronto on Monday night. Quoting a relative of Nibir’s mother, Naima Sultana, Bangladeshi expatriate journalist Shaogat Ali Sagar told The Daily ... Read more

3 Bangladeshi students dead, 1 injured after violent highway crash in Canada

News Desk : Three Bangladeshi students have died, and another is in critical condition, after a “very violent” crash on Highway 427 in Etobicoke on Tuesday morning. Ontario Provincial Police said the crash happened on the Highway 427 southbound off-ramp to Dundas Street at around 11:23 p.m. Monday. OPP Sgt. Kerry Schmidt said the ... Read more

Registration for Hajj will initiate on February 8th

News Desk : The registration for Hajj under public and private management will get underway on Wednesday. According to the religious affairs ministry and the Hajj Agencies Association of Bangladesh, depositing money for the Hajj registration will also begin on that day and continue till February 23, 2023. Aspirant pilgrims must abide by a ... Read more

Ganga Vilas, the world’s longest river cruise arrives in Mongla

News Desk : Ganga Vilas, the longest river cruise in the world, which will connect the Indian town of Varanasi with Diburgarh town in Assam with nearly half of the journey through Bangladesh territory, has reached Mongla Port in Bagerhat. On its arrival at the port yesterday, State Minister for Shipping Khalid Mahmud Chowdhury ... Read more