Tuesday, May 22, 2018 | ePaper

Power tariff hiked from Dec

Average up 5.3pc or Tk0.35 per unit: Last raised on Sept 1, 2015

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Staff Reporter :
The Bangladesh Energy Regulatory Commission (BERC) on Thursday announced an average raise of power tariff by 5.3 per cent or Tk. 0.35 per unit at retail level.
The regulatory body announced its decision at 3:00 pm yesterday on power tariff hike proposals placed by different state-owned companies.
BERC Chairman Monwar Islam said that the new tariff would come into effect from December. However, bulk tariff has not been raised this time.
According to the commission, the decision came after analyzing the power tariff hike proposals placed by different state-owned companies from September 25 to October 5.
The PDB had proposed raising the power tariff by 15 per cent per unit at the bulk level.  Currently, the bulk tariff of per unit electricity is Tk 4.90. The PDB wants it to be refixed at Tk 5.99
Earlier, BERC held a series of public hearings on their proposals from 25 September to 5 October.  It also held a special public hearing on power tariff reduction proposal placed by the Consumers Association of Bangladesh (CAB) to reduce the bulk power tariff.
CAB proposed reducing the bulk tariff price by Tk 1.32 per unit taking different measures and implementing the previous BERC order to ensure the purchase of lowest-cost electricity by Bangladesh Power Development Board (PDB).
The price of power has only increased at the retail level. Wholesale customers will not face an increase in costs.
This is the eighth time that the Awami League government has increased the cost of electricity since it came to power on Mar 1, 2010. The previous increase came on September 1, 2015, when the price was increased by 2.93 per cent. The cost to those using up to 75 units of electricity increased by Tk 20 from the price hike, while those using over 600 units saw an increase of at least Tk 30.
In March, Minister of State for Power and Energy Nasrul Hamid said that the increase in gas prices in certain sectors would raise the cost of gas used for electricity, necessitating an increase in the price of electricity.
The regulatory body then scrutinized the proposals from the various distribution companies and arranged a public hearing. A 15 per cent increase in the price of wholesale power and a 6 to 14 per cent increase in the price of retail power were proposed at the event.
The Dhaka Power Distribution Company put forward proposals to increase the price of electricity by 6.24 per cent at the user level, 6.34 per cent at DESCO, 10.36 per cent at West Zone Power Distribution Company, 10.75 per cent at REB and 14.5 per cent at PDB.
Pro-consumer groups, such as the Consumers Association of Bangladesh, opposed the price increase and even proposed a decrease in the price.
Leftist political groups have threatened to protest if the price of electricity was raised.
Though the price of electricity at retail level was increased by 5.3 per cent, the minimum payment for having electricity has been removed, the BREC said at the press conference. As a result, about three million consumers using 50 units of electricity or less (13 per cent of the total users) will have a lower electricity bill going forward.
Nearly six million consumers on the Bangladesh Rural Electricity Board (about 38 percent of the user base) may not experience an increase in their electricity bills, the BREC said.  
BERC last raised the power tariff for retail consumers on September 1, 2015 by 2.93 per cent or Tk 0.18 per unit on a weighted average. It had also similarly raised the bulk power tariff by Tk 0.23 per unit.

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