Load shedding compounds summer heat

The daily production of electricity has reportedly been reduced to bring down the cost of buying power from rental plants

With the ongoing heat wave causing demand for electricity to grow, the country is facing fresh rounds of load shedding, despite the state minister for power’s recent claim that the country would not experience any load shedding during summer.

The daily production of electricity has reportedly been reduced to bring down the cost of buying power from rental plants, forcing the power supply companies to enforce daily load shedding to cover the shortage of around 100-800MW of power, according to official sources.

The crisis has intensified as import of electricity from India has also come down to 350MW a day, although it was around 400-450MW last month, officials said.

The country is likely to experience around 500-800MW of load shedding during summer, with power demand reaching 7,500MW. The Power Division has reportedly asked the power distributors to use load shedding to balance the power shortage during summer

Although the country had achieved a record daily production of 7,356MW on March 30 from the existing production capacity of 11,000MW, the average daily power production has now fallen to 6,800MW.

The website of the Power Development Board (PDB) put yesterday’s load shedding forecast (sub-station end) at 449MW, the first time it had raised the forecast from zero megawatt in the last couple of months.

Currently, the production of 1,500MW of power is reportedly suspended because mechanical faults, along with a further suspension of around 11MW of power production because of gas and oil shortage.

“As we are unable to generate additional electricity because of shortage of gas, we have to manage the gap with load management, which will be implemented through load shedding,” acting PDB chairman Tamal Chakraborty told the Dhaka Tribune.

Abul Kalam Azad, managing director of West Zone Power Distribution Co Ltd (WZPDCL), also admitted that they had to enforce load shedding as demand exceeded supply.

Comments could not be collected from the State Minister for Power, Nasrul Hamid, as he was visiting Japan.

A PDB official, seeking anonymity, said people in the urban areas might have to experience up to four hours and rural people up to six hours of load shedding, adding that efforts were on to keep load shedding at around 500MW during the irrigation
season.

Each spell of rolling blackouts reportedly lasts one hour or longer, varying for different areas.

According to Power Division officials, irrigation requirements prompt an additional demand of 1,700MW of power during summer.

Last year, the country experienced about 2,000 MW of load shedding during summer, as 5,000- 5,600MW of power was produced against a demand for 7,500MW.

Sources said the Rural Electrification Board (REB) was getting only an average of 3,300MW against its peak demand of 3,700MW during the Boro season.

The Dhaka Power Distribution Company Limited (DPDC) – which covers Dhanmondi, Mohammadpur, Tejgaon, Moghbazar, Dhaka (south) and Narayanganj – had a demand of 1,100MW, against which it got only 900MW on Sunday.

The Dhaka Electric Supply Company Limited (Desco) covers Mirpur, Shyamoli, Gulshan, Badda, Dhaka (north) and Tongi areas. Against a daily demand of around 850MW in these areas, average supply was only 700MW.

The PDB supplies electricity both to rural and urban areas except Dhaka Metropolitan, Barisal and Khulna metropolitan areas. PDB was getting an average of 1,300MW supply against its demand of 1,600MW.

The WZPDCL covers 21 districts including Barisal and Khulna City in the southwestern region of the country. Against daily demand of about 900MW, the average supply was only 800MW.

Meanwhile, power consumers across the country complained of sufferings caused by the frequent spells of blackout.

Shafiqul Islam, a farmer from Satkhira sadar upazila, said: “We are not getting electricity properly to operate irrigation pump and Boro cultivation.”

Abu Talib, a resident of Dhaka’s Uttara, said: “Sometimes we have to wait for two hours without electricity. It is really unbearable.”

Shamima Khatun, a resident of Khulna, told the Dhaka Tribune: “My baby could not sleep at all last night (Sunday) because of frequent power failures… We are experiencing load shedding five to seven times a day.”

Source: Dhaka Tribune

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