The Financial Express

Call for retiring old power plants

| Updated: May 10, 2021 19:13:22

Call for retiring old power plants

Speakers during a webinar on Saturday underscored the need for closure of old and inefficient power plants, including rental and quick rental ones, to improve the efficiency of the power sector.

They also called for ensuring uninterrupted and quality power supply to consumers, including the industrial ones, and phasing out captive power plants.

The speakers made this call during the webinar styled 'Upcoming National Budget FY 2021-22: Expectation of Power Producers' hosted by the Forum for Energy Reporters Bangladesh (FERB).

State minister for power, energy, and mineral resources Nasrul Hamid was the chief guest at the function while Independent Power Producers Association (BIPPA) vice-president Md Mozammel Hossain delivered a keynote.

"We're expecting an allocation of Tk 261.18 billion in the national budget for the next fiscal year (FY), 2021-22," said Mr Hamid.

Allocation for the power sector in the current fiscal was around Tk 247.68 billion.

The junior minister said transmission and distribution sectors would also get focused on the budget.

State-run power entities can save cost by around 1.0-2.0 per cent by improving the efficiency level, adopting new technology and shutting inefficient power plants, he added.

The BIPPA earlier demanded the withholding of 34-per cent duty on the import of high sulfur fuel oil (HSFO) and advance import tax (AIT).

On the issue, Mr Hamid said the government has provided tax benefits over the past one decade to ensure smooth growth of the power sector and develop the initial base of the private sector.

They have a strong base now, he said, adding that the government has to spend on different infrastructure projects too.

Some 8.0-million consumers, especially in Rural Electrification Board (REB) areas, are under a 'lifeline' electricity bill payment mechanism.

"It's a matter of great satisfaction that we could provide uninterrupted electricity during the previous heatwave despite the ongoing Covid-19 situation," said power secretary Md Habibur Rahman.

The Bangladesh Power Development Board (BPDB) loses Tk 70-80 billion annually as it counts a loss of Tk 1.16 against a single unit trade of electricity, said BPDB chairman Md Belayet Hossain.

He also criticised the demand from the private sector to extend the tenure of IPPs (independent power producers).

"You (IPPs) didn't oppose taking higher tariff from us when we purchased power at two to three times higher prices. Why are you raising the issue of extending tenures now?" Mr Hossain questioned.

BIPPA chairman Imran Karim said the import duty on HSFO and AIT on machinery has now emerged as bottlenecks for the private sector in generating electricity.

Power cell director-general Mohammad Hossain also addressed the webinar presided by FERB chairman Arun Karmakar and moderated by FERB executive director Shamim Jahangir.

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