People living in the country’s south-western part are going to get a relief from load-shedding and other power-related interruptions as four major projects involving over Tk 40 billion are being implemented in the region.
The projects are strengthening power distribution (Tk 8.32 billion), upgradation and expansion of power distribution (Tk 12.49 billion), expansion and augmentation of power distribution (Tk 12.60 billion) and installation of SCADA (Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition) system (Tk 8.7 billion).
West Zone Power Distribution Company Ltd (West Zone Power Company) has been implementing the projects in its command areas of 22 districts located in the country’s south-western part with a target to ensure an uninterrupted and quality power supply to its over 1.1 million consumers.
The districts are: Khulna, Bagerhat, Satkhira, Narail, Jessore, Jhenida, Magura, Kushtia, Meherpur and Chuadanga in Khulna Division, Faridpur, Rajbari, Dhaka, Madaripur, Shariatpur and Gopalganj in Dhaka Division and Barisal, Jhalkathi, Patuakhali, Barguna, Bhola and Pirojpur in Barisal Division.
“Our prime target is to improve the quality of power supply and ensure an uninterrupted power distribution by 2021,” said Engineer Md. Shafique Uddin, managing director of the West Zone Power Distribution Company.
In an exclusive interview with UNB, he gave a brief description of the projects with their goals and implementation timeline.
The West Zone Power Company was created in 2002 as part of unbundling of power sector under the government’s reform programme to bring efficiency in the electricity system.
However, due to stiff opposition from the labour unions the company had to wait until 2005 to start its operation. Before inception of the company, the areas were under the jurisdiction of state-owned Power Development Board (PDB).
“Within a decade of the company’s takeover, the high system loss in the area came down to 9.40 per cent from over 27 per cent,” said West Zone managing director.
He said the company has already introduced 63,000 pre-payment metres to its consumers in Khulna area and also undertook a separate project to introduce another 500,000 smart-prepayment metres for its consumers in next few years.
Once the smart-prepayment meters are installed, the consumers would not need to go to any vending station to recharge the meters, he said adding, they can recharge their meters from home and anywhere else through their mobile phones.
“The proposed meters are most modern one and West Zone has already signed a MoU with Chinese firm Hexing China to set up a manufacturing plant in Khulna for in-house production of the device.”
About the Tk 8.32 billion-worth strengthening power distribution project, the West Zone chief informed that some 1851 km of new power distribution line was installed and 2100 distribution transformers were set up to expand the power supply in new areas.
Three new substations, each having 33/11 kV capacity, were set up while 11 existing substations of same capacity were renovated under the same project. A 15-story office building is being constructed under the scheme, he noted.
Under upgradation and expansion of power distribution project worth Tk 12.49 billion, Shafique said, some 31 new substations (33/11 kV) are being built while another 32 existing substations are being renovated.
He said the Tk 12.60 billion-worth expansion and augmentation of power distribution project was under taken to build 4800 km new distribution lines and install 2530 distribution transformers to increase the capacity of the West Zone’s power supply network.
“Once these projects are implemented, the power distribution capacity of the company will go more than double to 3,500 MVA from the existing 1,700 MVA”, he said.
“We planned to expand our area and also increase the number of consumers from 1.1 million to 1.35 million by 2030 with ensuring no load shedding or interruption in power supply in West Zone commanding area.
He said a Tk 8.70 billion project is being taken up to set up a SCADA (Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition) to introduce a most modern system to control and monitor the entire power distribution centre.
Shafique Uddin said the West Zone Power Distribution Company was given the biggest area of power distribution covering three major divisions—Khulna, Barisal and Dhaka (greater Faridpur) and also industrial hubs of Mongla Export Processing Zone, Mongla Economic Zone and Indian Economic Zone in Mongla are under its jurisdiction.
“We’re moving forward with a commitment to ensure an uninterrupted and quality power supply to our consumers”, he said.