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Sunday, February 26, 2006

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Procedural delay diminishes hope for quick-fix solution to power crisis
FE Report
2/26/2006
 

          The procurement of eight barge, skid, and trailer-mounted power plants on an urgent basis is unlikely to take place as planned because of the procedural delay.
Official sources said it would take, at least, six months to complete the process of installation of the power plants, thus, diminishing the hope for improvement in power situation this summer.
Even, the Power Development Board (PDB), which floated tender for the purpose, is yet to evaluate the tender documents and price quotation, sources added.
The countrywide electricity generation crunch has prompted the government to float tenders for supplying the power plants to help cope with the power crisis.
Critics say the move to procure such power plants, bothering little about exorbitantly high power tariff, is to placate the voters, amid a looming general election.
The proposed locations for the power plants are Sylhet, Fenchuganj, Khulna, Rajshahi, Sikalbaha, Shahazi Bazar, Bogra, and Thakurgaon.
The objective of the plan is to ensure generation of nearly 400 MW of electricity.
The proposed plants can be run either on gas or oil, PDB officials said.
"The closing date of dropping tenders is tomorrow (Monday)," an official said.
"It's a quick-fix move But it will take no less than six months to commission the plants," the official added.
Many say the delay in commissioning the oil and gas-fired power plants would disrupt the irrigation during the current Boro season.
Sources said the government had failed to ensure smooth supply of electricity during the last irrigation season.
Suppliers were invited to send their quotations on procurement and commissioning of the power plants as quickly as possible.
Private sector will procure the plants on a rental basis and the PDB will purchase electricity from them in local currency, it is learnt. There will be power purchase deal between the PDB and the power producers.
PDB officials claimed that the provision of buying electricity in local currency would help cut losses on the part of PDB, as the government agency had been incurring huge losses for purchasing power in greenback from the independent power producers (IPPs).
The Power Development Board (PDB) floated tender for the purpose in December last.
But power sector experts remain unconvinced about the positive outcome of the move.
In addition to the delay in commissioning, the tariff of barge-mounted power plants will be higher than that of the conventional ones, they told the FE.
"Usually, the lead time for installing barge-mounted power plants is shorter than those of traditional power plants where the lead time is prolonged. But the prices will be higher," one analyst said.
"The government should ensure cheaper electricity in the long term. And that is possible only through the establishment of coal-fired power plants," he added.
Currently, Bangladesh has barge-mounted power plants in Khulna, Haripur and Chittagong.

 

 
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