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BPDB seeks 14.74% hike; regulator’s technical body recommends 11.78%

The technical evaluation committee of the Bangladesh Energy Regulatory Commission (BERC) has recommended hiking of the bulk electricity price by Tk 0.54 (11.78 per cent) per unit instead of Tk 0.87 (14.78 per cent) proposed by the state-run Bangladesh Power Development Board (PDB).

The committee made the recommendation after holding a discussion and hearing on the PDB proposal at BERC office in Dhaka on Monday.

BPDB submitted the price hike proposal to BERC earlier on February 20.

On the other hand, Consumer rights groups, business bodies and left leaning political parties strongly opposed the government entity’s power tariff hike proposal at the public hearing that began at the TCB Auditorium. 

The technical evaluation committee of the regulator, which thoroughly examined the BPDB proposal, found gross inconsistency in the BPDB’s accounting statements and recommended a rise by only 11.78 percent to Tk 5.41per unit.

However, the BERC, headed by its chairman, will take the final decision on the tariff hike proposal on conclusion of the current series of hearings.

BERC chairman Monwar Islam presided over the public hearing session while other members of the regulatory body -- Rahman Murshed, Abdul Aziz Khan, Mizanur Rahman, and Masudul Haque Bhuiyan -- were present on the occasion.

The BPDB urged the regulator to raise the power tariff both at the bulk and retail levels while the distribution companies called for enhancing tariff at the retail level only. 

Opposing the BPDB’s proposal, CAB adviser Prof Shamsul Alam raised a volley of questions about the justification of the proposal saying it is mysterious that why BPDB does not supply gas to generate power at low cost. But that gas is diverted to private power plants and BPDB is forced to buy power at much higher rates.

He said liquid fuel is supplied to BPDB at much higher rates which the private plants are getting at much lower rates.

Shamsul Alam said if such discriminations, distortions and irregularities are removed, the BPDB will not need to raise power tariff at the bulk level. “If the bulk level price is up, the retail level will go up.”

The BERC will hold a public hearing on retail tariff proposal of BPDB on Tuesday.

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