Describing the current move for raising power tariff as illogical and unfair, Consumers Association of Bangladesh (CAB) on Sunday said the government can reduce the power tariff instead of raising it if certain measures are taken to check the misuse and unnecessary expenditures.
The CAB leaders said Power Development Board (PDB) has showed that it will face a Tk 8,786 crore revenue shortfall if the power tariff is not raised while the technical committee of Bangladesh Energy Regulatory Commission (BERC) said the shortfall will be Tk 7,353 crore.
“But CAB finds that there’s an illogical and unnecessary expenditure of Tk 10,549 crore in power sector. If such unnecessary expenditures are checked, the government will not have to raise the power tariff,” said CAB President Dr Gulam Rahman at a press conference at Dhaka Reporters Unity (DRU).
CAB adviser Prof ASM Shamsul Alam and other leaders including eminent architect Mobassher Hossain, columnist Syed Abul Maksud, and energy expert Badrul Imam were also present.
The CAB leaders claimed that the unnecessary expenditures comprise of Tk 1,305 crore in buying power from rental and quick rental power plants as payment on capacity charges, Tk 2,176 crore on allocation from power development fund, Tk 110 crore for overstated transmission charge, Tk 500 crore as profit for BPDB, Tk 4,500 crore for government policy on adjustment in bulk power tariff, Tk 13 crore profit for power transmission and distribution, Tk 1,088 crore BPDB-REB power distribution profit and Tk 802 crore for manpower and depreciation cost in REB due to government policy.
Dr Ghulam Rahman, also former chairman of BERC and the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC), said CAB urged BERC to accept their demands.
“If BERC rejects our demands, it should be explained why our demands are rejected as peoples have the right to know the reasons,” he said.
Reading out the CAB statement, Shamsul Alam said CAB has been placing its arguments in every public hearing against the unnecessary expenditures and mismanagement that cost people huge.
“But the BERC instead of talking our arguments in its consideration, serves the interests of the government and state-owned companies,” he said.
Prof Badrul Imam said the cost of electricity is going up because of costly energy used in power generation.
“Before 2009, gas was used in 90 percent of power generation while it is now used for 60 percent of electricity generation. Now high cost imported coal, LNG and diesel are being used in power generation which pushes up the overall cost,” he said.
Mobassher Hossain said it is shocking that Bangladesh won the maritime boundary dispute but no gas was explored from the area in the last 5-6 years.
He said if the electricity tariff is raised, it will have multiple effects on the economy pushing up the prices of all the essential commodities.