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Nonstop power supply at affordable price now main challenge: Nasrul

Published : 31 May 2022 11:28 PM | Updated : 01 Jun 2022 04:38 PM

The government has already brought 100 per cent of the population under electricity coverage. Now the challenge is to ensure uninterrupted power supply with affordable price, said State Minister for Power, Energy and Mineral Resources Nasrul Hamid.

“If we go for ensuring uninterrupted power supply, the entire power distribution and transmission line have to go underground…all substations will go underground which are very costly projects. It is unlikely that the uninterrupted power supply will be ensured before the next 5-6 years as it involves huge cost,@ he said. 

The state minister made the remarks while addressing a "Meet the Press". The Forum for Energy Reporters Bangladesh (FERB) and Bangladesh Power Development Board (BPDB) jointly organised the event titled: "BPDB's 50th Anniversary: Achievements and Challenges" at Bidyut Bhaban in the city on Tuesday. 

The state minister said, “Big changes are coming, we are going to have a hydrogen policy. In the future, electricity can be generated with this fuel. Feasibility is still being done. We have set a target to generate 40 percent electricity from renewable energy by 2041.” 

Nasrul Hamid also said, “Today is the 50th anniversary of BPDB, which was started its journey in 1972 holding the hand of Bangabandhu. He understood that the electricity facilities in the village should be increased. Bangabandhu started the first power generation by bringing power plant from abroad. He took these initiatives amid various problems. He understood that the factory had to be developed at that time.”

“Within three years of independence, several power plants, including the Ghorashal power plant, were set up. Today we have increased the capacity from 500 MW to 25,500 MW. Under the leadership of the Prime Minister, the power division ensured 100 percent electricity facility across the country,” he added.

He also said, “I did not say the price would go down, I said we would provide affordable electricity. Fuel prices have risen sharply around the world. But our situation is still very stable.”

State Minister urged the businesspeople to stop commenting on rental power plants as he ruled out any reduction in power tariff.

“They (businesses) should talk about uninterrupted and quality power supply at affordable price…from which kind of plants they are getting electricity should not be their subject,” he said.

Reacting to the FBCCI's demand for shutting down the rental and quick rental power plants, Nasrul said, “If fabric merchants talk about power plants from which we should get electricity, it's not fair.”

“If your problem is about uninterrupted power supply, then it's okay," he said.

“You should not advise about the DOs and DON'Ts…You should talk about whether the power supply situation has improved or not,” he added.

Nasrul also said there is no possibility that the electricity tariff will decrease. It may rise, but will remain within affordability. The income of the people has increased too. Now the people's thoughts should be about the quality of electricity supply. You should not think that you would get electricity at the same price that you were getting 13 years back. You should not expect that. 

He also said that Bangladesh will not buy crude oil from Russia as the fuel's specification will not match with the country's own requirements. 

The state minister made the comment a day after Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen said that Bangladesh is not taking oil from Russia in fear of sanctions. He had earlier said that Russia offered to sell crude oil to Bangladesh amid reduced demands from European countries.

On Tuesday, replying to a question in this regard, the energy state minister said, “Apart from importing oil from Russia, we are getting a lot of offers from many other countries. But we checked and found that our refinery is not technically capable of using Russian crude oil as it is designed for oil from Arab countries. Bangladesh refines light crude oil but, the crude oil that Russia wants to export is much heavier. As a result, it is not possible to refine this oil in the country.”

“We also have no crude oil crisis. As a result, we are not considering of stockpiling like other countries at the moment. However, the price of oil in the world market is fluctuating. We are monitoring that regularly,” he added. 

BPDB chairman Mahbubur Rahman and FERB chairman Shamim Jahangir also addressed the function while it was moderated by FERB executive director Rishan Nasrullah. 

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