Despite the present constraints in power transmission grid and distribution networks, quality power supply to all, except the franchise areas of Bangladesh Rural Electrification Board, can be ensured by 2019. It would be half of the total demand. It will take some more time to ensure quality uninterrupted supply to the BREB areas. Many new projects in transmission and distribution segments are under implementation and few have been already completed.
Power Secretary Dr. Ahmad Kaikaus said these in an exclusive interview with EP Editor Mollah Amzad Hossain.
Please note that the BREB area contributes to half of the national power demand. The other half is consumed in BPDB, DPDC, DESCO, WZPDC and NESCO. Review of last summer’s power system management evidenced deficit of 1,500-2,000 MW. Some fast track power generation projects have been taken up for managing the situation in this summer.
BPDB admits of 300-400MW of power loadshedding during last summer. But you are saying the deficit was 1,500-2,000MW, why?.
The Power Secretary said BPDB estimated the deficit by taking the full generation capacity into consideration. Actually 10% less of whatever is generated reach end users. Our deficit is calculated on that basis.
Responding to a question whether the fast track projects would come into commercial operations on time, he said: “We prepared summary with our recommendation after evaluating the proposals within a month of receipt. But it took a considerable time in getting cabinet committee approval, vetting of law ministry, National Board of Revenue and signing of contract. However the company after getting the contract started working immediately. Achieving financial closure is also a challenge. With all these done, we expect the projects may be delayed by one to two months.”
Under fast track projects work orders was given for 1,800 MW of diesel-based power plants. All these would come into operation by March 2018. With 500 MW in the public sector, the total furnace oil based power plant capacity would be 2,300 MW. Of these, 1,800 MW capacity furnace oil-based plants would come into operation by June 2018. Plants under public sector would start operation by December 2018.
For gas deficit, some capacity of gas-based generation remains idle. But it is encouraging that 500 MMCFD of LNG would be added to the national grid. About 150 MMCFD from this would be dedicated to power. This would add 1,000 -1,200 MW power. Consequently, it will be possible to generate over 12,000 MW on average every day.
The demand increases with every new connection. Some 4.2 million new consumers are added annually to the power system. This creates 1,200 -1,800 MW of new demand. The power supply situation would be much better than before over the summer, Ramadan and FIFA World Cup football as it would be possible to supply 11,000 MW on average.
There are two different strategies of supplying power to end users. First, ensuring quality power supply and then connecting new consumers; Second, bringing all under supply coverage and then strengthen networks for ensuring quality supply to all. We have adopted the second strategy. Excepting 2,500 villages, the rest of Bangladesh would come under power system coverage by December 2018. These areas will be gradually supplied with uninterrupted quality power. By 2019, except BREB franchise area, the rest of the consumers would be receiving uninterrupted quality power. For the remaining areas, it may take till 2021.
Replying to a question whether transmission grid is ready to evacuate the entire anticipated generation capacity, the Secretary said of course not. Some feeders are often over loaded. The new transmission line required for supplying power to Mymensingh region cannot be completed this year. Some 36 new feeders that PGCB is constructing cannot be completed before the ensuing summer. Many projects were planned under G-G contract with China for strengthening PGCB for meeting the demand. But these did not happen. Now these are being executed with PGCB’s own finance and the government funding. It will take longer time for PGCB to become fully efficient.
BREB has both technical and non-technical issues for reaching quality power to every door step. Huge investments are being made for capacity development. Even then, it will take considerable time to make it fully efficient. Apart from this, the general managers of at least 80 PBSs are non-technical. These PBSs have management issues.
BPDB network is much smarter now than last year. But due to non-completion of the system expansion in Sylhet, Rajshahi and Chittagong areas, there would be isolated issues in 2018 as well. System would be much better elsewhere than last year.
The system expansion plan of DPDC under Chinese G-G arrangements is not being done. These would be implemented under alternative financing. Works of system improvement is continuing. Even if system cannot become completely trouble-free, it will be much improved than last year. We are expecting that by 2019. DPDC can be made fully efficient.
There would be some issues in Basundhara area under DESCO. Residential authorities are not giving land for substation, which was promised. They want us to purchase the land at Tk 1.20 crore, but the land worth Tk 20 lakhs only. For unavailability of land, we cannot import plant and equipment. But huge works have been done in Utttara area and the consumers would experience greater comfort this summer.
Responding to a question whether the nation can expect uninterrupted quality power supply to all by 2021, the Power Secretary said it depends primarily on achieving generation capacity significantly higher than the demand with spinning reserve, efficient transmission system, developing efficient distribution networks and ensuring responsible and efficient operation. Some 101 different projects are under implementation in different segments for achieving the above. We must remember that our networks are not among the best in the world. Hence the improvement works would continue. We are doing that.
We must mention here that a system cannot be termed overloaded until 100% capacity of substations and transformers are exceeded. But in our new strategy, we will term a system overloaded as soon as 60% of capacity is exceeded. PGCB has launched it. In due course, distribution companies would follow it. Only after completion of all these, we will be able to say that uninterrupted quality power supply to all has been achieved. It may take till 2021.
From Power & Energy