Power price hike decision should be reviewed

Published : 28 Feb 2024 08:16 PM

The government move to increase the price of electricity at a time when the prices of all essential commodities are surging unabated is as good as the straw that breaks the camel’s back. The prices of gas and water are also very likely to increase soon. 

The skyrocketing prices of everything have already made the lives of general people miserable. In the situation when the prices of power and gas increase, it will be like striking a dead horse. 

We are naturally concerned about the future as power and gas price hike will increase prices of daily essentials as well as costs of transportation, education and health services and industrial and agricultural products.

The government is set to raise electricity prices by 34 to 70 paisa per unit, State Minister for Power, Energy and Mineral Resources Nasrul Hamid told journalists on Tuesday. The new rate will come into effect from the first week of March. 

Major national dailies on Wednesday ran stories on government’s plan to raise electricity and gas tariff, detailing the impact on general people. Energy experts and economists are also voicing strong opposition against the government’s proposal to further increase electricity tariff in Bangladesh. 

The government should re-evaluate the power sector’s financial management, specifically pointing out excessive and questionable spending as a more viable solution to the sector’s financial woes. Currently, there is 42 percent surplus electricity that can be attributed to government’s deals to set up costly power plants.

When the prices of power

 and gas increase, it will 

be like striking a dead horse

However, the authorities use the international situation as an excuse to increase the prices of gas and power. Apart from general people, the country’s manufacturing sector, which is already going through a financial crisis, will face serious difficulties in coming days.  

The price of electricity and gas has already been increased when the inflation is increasing to an extreme level. The further hike in gas and power prices will come as an electric shock for the people of the country.

The power production cost has come down due to the decline in fuel price on the global market. So, there is no valid reason to increase the power and gas prices. 

Such move will add misery to the general people. We the general people are already in an intolerable condition. When we go to market we see there is no control over the price of goods. There is no supervision from the pertinent authorities. People are living a very unbearable life.  The government used to say that thousands of crores of Taka are being spent in paying subsidies. But how will the subsidies be reduced? 

Low-income people are being crushed due to the price hike of essentials. Increase in the price of electricity means that the prices of many other goods simultaneously will increase with it. 

Moreover, increase in electricity and gas prices before Ramadan may not be acceptable to the people who mandated the government to power with high hopes that their sufferings will be assuaged.  We think the government will review its decision to raise power price right now.