Need 1 week to assess situation
Admitting that the Power Division could not impose schedule-wise power cuts across the country, State Minister for Power, Energy and Mineral Resources Nasrul Hamid yesterday sought one week's time to address the issue.
"In many places, load shedding continued for more than an hour. We've seen that a feeder takes 2-3 hours to resume electricity supply after being shut. In many areas, it takes 4 hours. This has happened in my area also. We need one week's time to assess the situation and address it," the state minister told reporters at his Gulshan residence in the capital.
The government will plan its next steps for electricity rationing after analysing the data of the first week of power outages, he said.
The government on Tuesday imposed countrywide power cuts with timetables for specific areas as part of austerity measures to save fuel amid soaring energy prices in the global market.
It also has temporarily shut down all diesel-fired power plants, which contribute 1,000-1,500MW to the national grid daily.
The state minister said new schedules for load shedding will be fixed next week and the situation is likely to improve as time progresses.
He said they would fix another load shedding schedule after having the first week's results.
"Customers are accepting the situation due to special circumstances. I think we can put things in order in 10 days and the situation will get better after that," Nasrul said.
Responding to a question, the state minister said he was expecting that alternative energy (energy sources other than fossil fuels) would be used in some power plants and that is why he was terming the current situation temporary.
He said the demand for power would fall gradually in the "coming season" and they would be able to deal with the situation.
Nasrul, however, said the oil and gas crises would worsen if the Russia-Ukraine war continued, adding that there would not be any problem if people used electricity sensibly.
He also highlighted the differences between the demands for electricity in cities and rural areas. "It is found that three villages collectively use 10MW power every day, but one locality in Dhaka alone uses about 100MW. This is a problem."
He said the demand for gas in factories and industrial units is also increasing. "The majority of our gas supplies are being sent to industries."
The state minister said only 10 percent of the country's total diesel stock is used for power generation and the rest is used by agriculture and transportation sectors.
Nasrul said the overall power supply deficit is now crossing the 1,500MW mark daily. "In the last two-three days, we observed that the load shedding was 1,500 MW every day. Sometimes the figure went up by 400-500MW when the usage of gas increased in industries."
He also said Bangladesh Petroleum Corporation has recently held meetings with the transport sector stakeholders.
"The meetings were held to analyse how much increase in transport fares would be needed if the fuel prices are hiked by the BPC," he said.
The BPC was yet to adjust fuel prices with the additional import prices, the state minister said.