The Bangladesh Energy Regulatory Commission on Thursday decided to raise both the bulk and retail prices of electricity for the third time this year with effect from 1 September, said officials.
The BERC, however, has not yet fixed the new rate.
It will announce the new price of electricity between September 7 and September 10 with retrospective effect from 1 September, said BERC member Salim Mahmud on Thursday.
In reply to a question, Salim said that the BERC is likely to raise the retail price of electricity from 25 per cent to 30 per cent a kilowatt-hour on average and the bulk price to 35 per cent on average.
The BERC, in five phases since February 2011, has increased the bulk power prices by 69.6 per cent on
an average, from Tk 2.37 a unit to Tk 4.02 a unit, and at the same time the retail price by 27.50 per cent on an average from Tk 4.0 per unit to Tk 5.10 per unit.
The frequent price-hikes of electricity with retrospective effect are increasing the suffering of the consumers as they will not know the price of the electricity they will be consuming.
The BERC on March 29 increased the price of bulk electricity by Tk 0.28 a kilowatt-hour on an average and of retail power by Tk 0.30 per unit on an average with retrospective effect from the first of March.
A number of business organisations and the Consumers Association of Bangladesh protested against the BERC’s decision to increase the price of electricity with retrospective effect, saying that it has violated the rights of consumers by leaving them in the dark, that is ignorant of the price.
CAB’s energy adviser Shamsul Alam said that a consumer has the right to know the price of a product that he or she is going to buy.
The BERC is going to raise the prices of electricity because of a revised proposal by the Power Development Board to raise the bulk price of electricity by 35 per cent with effect from July 1, which was initially 50 per cent to offset the subsidy for electricity from the energy guzzling fuel oil-fired rental power plants.
In the revised proposal, the PDB has also increased the amount of subsidy required from Tk 3,684 crore to Tk 4,111 crore for fiscal year 2012-13.
The PDB submitted a revised proposal after the BERC conducted a public hearing on PDB’s previous proposal for raising the price to Tk 6.03 a unit from Tk 4.02 on July 15.
According to the new proposal, PDB wants to sell electricity at Tk 5.43 per unit to the five state-run power distribution agencies.
The BERC will give its verdict on raising the retail price of electricity through an interim order so that power distribution agencies will not have to count losses by buying bulk electricity at a higher rate from PDB and selling it at lower price to the retail consumers, said officials.
They said that the BERC has also decided to restructure the slabs of electric bills for domestic consumers by dividing them into seven categories in order to rationalise the billing.
Mobirul Hossain, a resident of Mirpur, told New Age, ‘The government has started buying electricity at a very high price from fuel oil-run rental plants to decrease the incidence of outages. Now we are paying the higher price but frequent outages remain a reality.’
Without exploring other cheaper ways the government, immediately after assuming office in 2009, decided to buy power from fuel oil-fired rental power plants, which were selected without undergoing the tender process, ostensibly in order to increase power generation in the shortest possible time.
Courtesy of New Age