Ministries, depts owe Power Division Tk 1,893 crore
As of September this year, ministries and their departments owed the Power Division Tk 1,893 crore, State Minister for Power Nasrul Hamid said yesterday.
Responding to a lawmaker's query in parliament, he also said considering the average daily gas production of 2,300 million cubic feet (mmcfd), the country will be able to extract gas for the next 10.8 years.
About the arrears, Nasrul said the Local Government Division owes the Power Division the most, Tk 905.21 crore, and the ministry of disaster management Tk 395.68 crore.
Replying to a query from Awami League lawmaker Md Mozaffar Hossain, he said the authorities were able to reduce the electricity bill arrears in the last few years by strengthening supervision and carrying out various activities at the field level.
The state minister said the government has taken initiatives, including setting and monitoring annual bill arrear reduction targets in the Annual Performance Agreement, holding inter-ministerial meetings on collection of bills from different government organisations, preparing lists of defaulters and taking steps for collecting the arrears, and snapping electricity connection if necessary to collect the arrears.
He said all electricity consumers were being brought under prepaid or smart meter billing system in order to reduce the arrears.
GAS FOR 10.8 YRS
Answering a question from AL MP Shahiduzzaman Sarker, Nasrul said according to the latest estimate, July 1, 2022, the volume of proven and potential extractable gas reserves in the country is 28.59 trillion cubic feet.
The current extractable gas reserves in the country are 9.06 trillion cubic feet. Considering the current average daily production of 2,300 mmcfd from gas fields, the country will be able to use the rest of the gas in the next 10.8 years, the state minister said.
The duration may increase or decrease if the daily gas production decreases or increases, he told the House.
Replying to another question, Nasrul said as the country's private LPG operators are dependent on imports, there is no possibility of reducing the price in the domestic market without government subsidy or without the price dropping in the international market.
In response to a question from AL lawmaker Nizam Uddin Hazari, the state minister said $28.3 billion was invested in the power sector from the 2009-10 to 2021-22 financial year. Of the amount, $9.73 billion was invested by private investors in electricity generation.
Answering a question from Jatiya Party's Rustam Ali Farazi, he said Bangladesh Petroleum Corporation is now incurring a loss of Tk 21 per liter in the sale of diesel.
He said due to the global energy crisis following the Russia-Ukraine war, Bangladesh is trying to overcome the energy crisis through economical use of electricity and planned load-shedding.
Nasrul said the government hopes that it would be able to overcome the crisis soon by connecting the new coal-based power plants to the national grid and ensuring cost-effective use of electricity.
BNP MP Harunur Rashid during the question-answer session came down heavily on the government for alleged widespread looting, corruption, and mismanagement in power and energy sector.
He proposed that the Speaker arranges a discussion on the issue in parliament.
Nasrul in reply blasted the previous BNP-Jamaat government for alleged corruption in the power sector.