Load shedding again
People of the country have been witnessing severe power cuts for the last couple of days because of a drop in oil-based power generation resulting from a shortage of fuel supply.
A strike by waterways transport workers since April 20 caused the fuel shortage forcing most of the power plants run by fuel oil to remain shut, according to officials at the Power Development Board (PDB).
Transport workers have not been supplying diesel and heavy fuel oil to the plants and so power generation dropped by 500-700 megawatts, leading to load shedding though Bangladesh has enough power generation and supply capacity to meet the demand.
Meanwhile, with the mercury shooting towards 35-38 degrees Celsius and no rain, the demand for electricity rose even in off-peak hours in the morning and noon, PDB officials said.
Usually the difference between morning and evening electricity consumption is very wide -- about a thousand megawatts. But now the difference has been narrowed down to some 300-400MW. As a result people are experiencing load shedding all the time -- from early morning to midnight.
The government was expected yesterday to resolve through a dialogue the issue of transport workers who were pressing home a 15-point demand including wage hike, a PDB officials said.
According to the PDB, the daily power demand is around 8,000MW now, more than 60 percent of which comes from cheap and clean natural gas.
Oil-based power generation has increased from 2010 as the government set up rental power plants on urgent basis. The country cannot produce adequate gas for the gas-based power plants to generate power at their full capacity.
The power supply situation this year looked great until last week as the supply of gas, oil, hydro and coal-based power and imported power in total were very close to the demand.
The PDB was successfully supplying up to 8,300MW power before the recent disruption to power generation, which was why people saw almost no power cuts despite a heat wave.