Ashuganj Power Company runs on ad hoc basis
Although over 5 years have elapsed since the formation of Ashuganj Power Station Company Ltd (APSCL), the public limited company still runs on ad hoc basis as its assets and liabilities have not been made over from Bangladesh Power Development Board (BPDP).
According to official sources, bureaucratic tangles and red tape, and finally indecision on part of government policymakers, are the main reasons behind this dilemma involving the second-biggest power hub in the country that faces a nagging electricity crisis.
The APSCL has been operating under an ad hoc arrangement with the BPDP since 2003. But the new company is facing serious problem in running operation and also taking its decision independently.
“We are not being able to operate like a real commercial company as the power-purchase agreement and vendor's agreements have not been signed with the BPDB,” said APSCL Chairman ANM Rijwan.
APSCL was established incorporating the power plants and other setups in the previous Ashuganj power stations of the BPDB as part of government's reform programmes in the power sector.
The new company was registered with the Registrar of the Joint Stock Companies & Firms of Bangladesh under the Companies Act 1994.
It owns the second-largest power station in the country having an aggregate installed generation capacity of 724 megawatts of its 8 units. The present de-rated capacity is 642 MW. Ashuganj Power Station fulfills about 15 percent of power requirements of the country.
Initially, 51 percent of total shares are held by BPDB and the rest 49 percent are distributed among ministries of finance, planning, and power and energy.
The main objective of establishment of the APSCL as a PLC in public sector was to make the power station an independent entity in the power sector which will operate commercially and do its business on its own.
“To reduce the system loss and make the power- generation business profitable was the main motto,” said an APSCL top official.
The sources said that the BPDB board has approved a proposal few months back to officially hand over its assets and liabilities to the APSCL and also to endorse the vendor's agreement and the power-purchase agreement.
The resolution was then sent to the power ministry for approval.
The power ministry approved the proposal and finally sent it to the finance ministry for clearance and also to the law ministry for a legal vetting.
“But there has been no further progress in the last two months,” said one of the sources.