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November 1 blackout a wake-up call for power sector in Bangladesh

Mohammad Hossain, Director General of Power Cell, a wing of Power Division which is considered as think-tank, said I think we have improved the grid system more than ever through different protective measures. But let me remind you that nobody can guarantee 100% risk free grid system. It has ever happened in the developed country as well.

Following the blackout, an international consultant has been appointed for Power Grid Reliability Study.

On the occasion of first anniversary of blackout took place on November 01, 2014 in Bangladesh, Hossain made the disclosure in an exclusive interview with energynewsbd.com Editor Aminur Rahman.

energynewsbd.com: What measures you have taken in the mean time after the blackout happened on November 01, 2014?

Hossain: Blackout of November 01, 2014 was a wake-up call for power sector of Bangladesh. The committee recommended several short term, mid-term and long term recommendations. Most of the short term recommendations were implemented. Steps have been taken to implement the mid-term and long term recommendations. Meanwhile, an international consultant has been appointed for Grid Reliability Study. The consultant will present its draft report on November 16, 2015.

energynewsbd.com: Do you think if there is any kind of risk to occur such kind of blackout in Bangladesh?

Hossain: I think we have improved the grid system more than ever through different protective measures. But let me remind you that nobody can guarantee 100% risk free grid system. It has ever happened in the developed country as well.

energynewsbd.com: As a member secretary of the high profile body of the government formed to look into the causes behind the blackout, would you tell about the improvement of the persons or the organisations responsible for power collapse?

Hossain: We have taken necessary measures to develop the human resource capacity as well as institutional capacity.

energynewsbd.com: How often the country would have to face similar blackout due to the technical fault and why?

Hossain: There is no engineering formula to measure how often such blackout can occur. But of course, we can minimize such accidents through the improvement of our grid system. That is what we are doing now.

energynewsbd.com: Would you mind informing me of the latest development of power sector in Bangladesh?

Hossain: The following is a comparative development of power sector since 2009:

 

Before 2009

Sept 2015

Generation Capacity (MW)

4,942

11,877

Highest Generation (MW)

3,268

(6 Jan` 2009)

8,177

(19 Aug` 2015)

Transmission line (Ckt Km)

8,000

9,695

Grid Substation Capacity (MVA)

15,870

24,720

Distribution Line (Km)

2,60,000

3,41,000

Total Consumers (Million)

10.80

18.60

Per Capita Generation ( kWh)

220

371

Access to Electricity (%)

47%

74%

System Loss (%)

18.45%

13.54%

From the above, you can easily imagine that there has been a revolutionary progress in the Bangladesh`s power sector since 2009.

energynewsbd.com: The government has a target for power supply to all by 2021. Is it possible?

Hossain: By now, 74% of population has already been provided electricity. I am confident that remaining 26% will be brought under electricity coverage even before 2021.

energynewsbd.com: The government has another plan in introducing prepaid meters. What are major challenges to install prepaid meters?

Hossain: We have a plan to convert existing analogue/digital meters into prepaid meters within next 3 years. Meanwhile, about 1,00,000 meters have been installed, about 12,00,000 are under procurement process and another 1,20,00,000 (approx) are under project preparations. We have introduced unified prepaid meter system. However, still there are some challenges are:

  • The utilities do not have adequate experts on pre-paid meter system.
  • Huge budgetary involvement which needs to be arranged.
  • Transformation process is also challenging.

energynewsbd.com: Uninterrupted power supply is a big challenge for the country. How much time it may require for this?

Hossain: We are pledge bound to provide uninterrupted quality electricity to all by 2021. We will achieve the goal, Insha`Allah.

energynewsbd.com:: Would you tell me about the next power sector master plan?

Hossain: We are now updating the Power System Master Plan (PSMP) 2010 with the assistance of Japan International Co-operative Agency (JICA), considering the changed scenarios in the power sector. It is expected that within next year we will have a new PSMP 2015 in place.

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