21 Dhaka neighbourhoods: Power outages every other hour
People living in the capital's Shyampur, Nandalalpur, Kajla or Matuail experienced load-shedding every alternate hour yesterday.
There was not a single hour when at least one neighbourhood of these areas was not in the dark, with one feeder or the other going out every hour in turns.
A person going to sleep at midnight had to endure four hours of load-shedding until 8:00am.
This affected 21 neighbourhoods of the localities in the capital.
Engineers in Shyampur's Network Operations and Customer Services office, which covers all four areas, said there are many factories in the areas and yesterday was declared an industrial holiday. Since the industries were closed, this area was not a priority for distribution.
But there are factories and homes in Shyampur, which is serviced by Dhaka Power Distribution Company (DPDC).
Raju Ahmed, a cloth trader and shop owner of Alambagh in Shyampur, said his whole family squeezes into one room with a single rechargeable table fan at night to sleep.
"My daughter has a two-year-old baby. She stays up all night fanning the baby by hand," said Raju.
When this newspaper spoke to him at 7:00pm yesterday, he said there had been six hours of power outages since morning.
This is the predicament of the area's residents at a time when temperatures can go up to 34 degrees Celsius in the day.
"This is also hampering our business. Customers do not come to the market when there is no electricity, and we have to close shop by 8:00pm," he said.
Dhaka division was scheduled to get 11 percent less electricity than the estimated demand of 4,419MW, and this shortfall was distributed among cities, with every single neighbourhood experiencing four hours of scheduled load-shedding during the day -- and many more hours of outages at night.
Nighttime outages are mostly unscheduled, with distributors including the caveat that there may be load-shedding after midnight if needed.
Schedules this week added at least an additional hour or two of load-shedding than that of last week.
Some areas are bearing the brunt more than others. The residents of nearby Jurain got a better deal than Shyampur.
According to yesterday's load-shedding schedule for areas under DPDC, Jurain and Postogola would have had at least six hours of load-shedding with residents getting some relief only after 2:00am.
The entirety of Lalbagh saw up to five hours of load-shedding yesterday, with two of those outages happening at night. According to the schedule, residents got only four hours of uninterrupted power supply at night.
Most of the areas served by the Dhaka Electric Supply Company Limited (Desco) experienced a minimum of five hours of outages.
Official Desco schedules however kept the outages limited between 9:00am and midnight -- although consumers reported regular night outages at least once every night.
Some areas in Mirpur experienced six hours of load-shedding.
Bikash Dewan, managing director of DPDC, said, "We failed [to provide electricity to the customers]. We are in a miserable situation where we are not getting electricity as per the demand.
"For the previous few days, we have been getting less electricity than the allotment. The shortage of 500-550MW is huge in Dhaka. We have nothing to do without conducting load-shedding in different areas for four to five hours a day," he added.
Md Kausar Ameer Ali, managing director of Desco, in the evening said they have a shortage of around 300MW since last week. "But today's [yesterday's] situation is good as of now as we have a shortage of 150MW."
Shameem Hasan, spokesperson of Bangladesh Power Development Board, said although the production is increasing, the demand is also increasing.
"If there is rain for even half an hour, you could see a dramatic change in the gap between demand and supply. We had hoped the temperature would start dropping this month, but that did not happen."