AS per a report in this paper on June 26, Power Development Board's (PDB) has been counting losses over the past couple of years to the tune of thousands of crores of taka. This comes in the backdrop of repeated power tariff hikes. Apparently, the power sector will not come out of the red before 2018. The government had originally envisaged large increases in power generation to come from coal-based power plants, the first of which were supposed to become operational in 2014-2015. This has not happened. The stopgap measure of buying electricity from heavy fuel-fired rental power plants has now become the mainstay of power generation in the country. Though chronic load shedding in electricity has largely been mitigated, it has come at a huge cost, which is becoming unsustainable.
With PDB counting a projected Tk. 4,500 crore loss in the current fiscal and the first of the new coal-based plants to come online sometime in 2018, this bears bad news for consumers. We are told that the government may not hike tariff this year, but the question is precisely why concerned authorities have dragged their feet on such an important issue, particularly if generating bulk of electricity from coal-fired plants was part of the plan? What we need to know is whether the new revised deadline of 2018 can be met given the sorry state of implementing capacity of state bodies. Implementation must receive top priority since every price hike in electricity is followed by a new round of inflation which consumers can ill- afford to pay.