National, Front Page

Power outage acute in rural areas

Published : 06 Apr 2024 11:19 PM

Country's rural areas are suffering due to acute load shedding as demand for electricity surpasses amid the afflicting temperature.

With intolerable heat the entire nation is experiencing a severe power outage that adds to people’s plight.

Even though the nation is said to have a strong power infrastructure, there are severe shortages of electricity, which affect daily living, agricultural activities, and industrial output.

Data from the Bangladesh Power Development Board (BPDB) reveals an alarming picture. Last Tuesday, the maximum daily demand for electricity reached 15,500 megawatts (MW), but the supply was insufficient by more than 2,000 MW, resulting in extended load shedding periods. The insufficient power generation capacity of the nation, which presently stands at approximately 26,000 MW, worsens this shortage.

The data provided by the Rural Electrification Board (REB) shows that the situation is even worse in rural areas. When the supply is only 6,100 MW and the demand is 7,900 MW per hour, there is 1,800 MW of load shedding. 

Every day, communities in areas like Dinajpur, Rangpur, Bogura, and Sylhet suffer seven to eight hours without power, which has a substantial negative influence on their quality of life.

The country is affected by the power crisis in different ways. Load shedding disturbs daily schedules and exacerbates the discomfort of high temperature, especially on fasting days. Bangladesh's economy is based primarily on the agricultural and industrial sectors, which are severely hampered by power outages that drive up costs.

Farmers are the ones who suffer the most from the crisis. Due to the unstable electricity supply, they have to use expensive alternatives like diesel to run machinery and irrigation pumps, which puts additional strain on their already fragile financial capability. The promised increase in production capacity has not materialised, leaving people frustrated. 

Concerns about the effectiveness of policies and corruption are prominent amid the chaos. Even with promises of improvement, poor distribution and procurement practices for fuel worsen the situation. Public confidence is further damaged when official claims and actual conditions differ. 

The way the authorities handle load shedding makes the differences between rural and urban areas worse. While urban centres, including the capital, Dhaka, enjoy tolerable levels of power cuts, rural communities face disproportionate hardships. This disparity risks fuelling social tensions, reminiscent of past protests over electricity and fertiliser shortages.

Urgent action is necessary to address systemic issues and ensure long-term sustainability as the nation struggles with its ongoing power crisis. Streamlining fuel procurement, improving transparency, and bridging the urban-rural divide are critical measures in easing the suffering of millions of people impacted by load shedding.