Need for rural power met halfway: REB chief
The Rural Electrification Board is receiving almost half the supply of daily demand for about 2,500MW power in rural areas, said the REB chairman yesterday.
The result is, the erratic supply of electricity affects irrigation during the current boro rice season.
"We are aware about the farmers demand for electricity during this period. But we have been receiving about 1,200MW for the last couple of days against peak-hour demand for about 2,500MW," Bhuiyan Shafiqul Islam said emerging from a seminar at CIRDAP Auditorium.
Unnayan Shamunnay, Consumer Association of Bangladesh and CUTS International, organised the programme. Md Shubid Ali Bhuiyan, chairman of the standing committee on the power, energy and mineral resources ministry, spoke among others.
The REB chairman said the frequency of load shedding has increased in urban areas to ensure an increased supply of electricity to rural areas to facilitate irrigation.
"Even after taking these steps, we are not getting an adequate supply," he said, adding that demand for electricity is rising every day both in urban and rural areas.
But generation has not increased in pace with rising demand.
According to Power Development Board data, the shortage of supply stood at 1,468MW on Wednesday against evening-peak demand of 5,300MW. Generation at the peak hours of evening stood at 3,832MW on Wednesday.
Shafiqul Islam said demand for electricity for irrigation would increase next month. REB distributes electricity in the remote areas of 61 districts.
“The month of April is very critical for boro cultivation. If farmers cannot irrigate their fields properly during the flowering stage of paddy, it will be disastrous for them."
“It will be appreciated if urbanities tolerate more power cuts to help harvest a better boro crop,” he said. It will be easier for REB to meet irrigation demand if it receives a supply of about 2,000MW of electricity in April, he added.
Shubid Ali Bhuiyan said electricity generation would be increased in the next two years. “You will see results in two years and the situation will be tolerable then.”