Despite having surplus electricity and uninterrupted power supply, many clients across the country are complaining of frequent power outages.
Officials, on condition of anonymity, said that due to technical reasons, like repairs and maintenance as well as some power plants remaining shut temporarily, there is an unusual ‘load-shedding’ of power supply in the country.
They said that most of the factories and offices are now closed due to the government announced holiday in the face of coronavirus outbreak. For this reason there is drastic decline in electricity demand. On the other hand, the power generation capacity has increased. In such situation, it has been alleged that users are facing load-shedding or power crises in different areas.
Majority of the people are now staying at home. However, frequent load shedding in seasonal heat is making it miserable for many to stay indoors. The electricity users are facing this problem during the last few days. However, power distribution companies claimed that there is no power crisis. They said that in some places where they experience power outages the power division is either doing maintenance works or replacing old transmission lines.
According to Bangladesh Power Development Board (BPDB), currently the actual power generation capacity of the country is 19,107 megawatt (MW). It was estimated that, the maximum demand of electricity will be around 14,000MW this summer. However, the total demand was 8,800MW on Tuesday and the maximum generation capacity was 15,651MW.
On the issue, the State Minister for Power, Energy and Mineral Resources, Nasrul Hamid said “We are working to keep uninterrupted electricity supply even during the coronavirus epidemic. Though, there are still reports of power outages in some places - which is really unexpected for us. This has been discussed in an online meeting with power secretary and other department, agencies and companies. In case of any problem, the power division staff has been asked to stand by the clients.”
“Even in an unusual situation due to coronavirus, uninterrupted power supply is of utmost importance to us at the moment, as well as the safety of the employees of the power division. During this time, the staff of the power division will work with separate teams in shifts. If someone is infected, we then would have options to replace the staff,” he added.
Mahnur Islam Liza, resident of Monsurabad at Mohammadpur in the capital told Bangladesh Post, “I usually experience power outages three times daily. After 20 to 60 minutes the electricity supply resumes. It's hard to stay indoors all day. In this situation the load shedding seems to be a bigger curse.”
When contacted, Dhaka Power Distribution Company (DPDC) Managing Director Bikash Dewan told Bangladesh Post, “We have no power shortage. We are trying to supply uninterrupted electricity for the comfort of our users who are staying at home in this crisis moment. However, sometimes, in some areas there has been power outages for short time. We are resolving it as soon as possible after getting complains.”
He continued, “If any user face power crises, he or she can contact our call center number -16116. We hope to sort things out within the shortest possible time.”
S M Mizanur Rahman, a resident of Tongi in Gazipur told Bangladesh Post, “We are facing sever load shedding of electricity. On average, there is no electricity for at least three hours every day. It is extremely painful.”
“Like thousands of others, I also work from home. However, the work is being disrupted due to frequent power outages. Besides, various problems are being created in daily work,” he added.
Saiful Islam, a resident of Boleswarpur villages at Chuadanga district, told Bangladesh Post, “Usually on any stormy day there is no electricity for several hours. There was no electricity all day on Monday. The electricity supply resumed for half an hour around noon on Tuesday and never resumed on the day. It’s difficult to predict when would power supply resume once its gone.”
Bangladesh Rural Electrification Board (BREB) is the largest power distribution organisation of the country. BREB is supplying electricity to 2 lakh 85 thousand users or more than 12 crore people through 80 Palli Bidyut Samities in rural areas across the country. Earlier, Palli Bidyut Samity has ensured electricity connection from house to house formed by ‘Alor Feriwala’. Now they have formed special team named ‘Durjoge Alor Guerrilla’ aimed to ensure uninterrupted electricity supply during the coronavirus crisis.
BREB chairmen Major General Moin Uddin (Retd) told The Bangladesh Post, “Earlier, we had been providing electricity to our users in conventional system. But now many areas are under lockdown due to coronavirus. Ordinary people and also our employees are in the grip of panic. Movement to different places has become difficult.”
“On the other hand, the electricity demand of people is increasing in summer. If we cannot supply power properly during this disaster period then the sufferings of the people will increase manifold.”