Most state-run power entities are in poor financial health primarily because of their managerial inefficiencies.
According to sources, all the existing public sector power generation and distribution agencies except the Dhaka Electric Supply Company (DESCO) are burdened with huge operational liabilities and other non-technical losses.
The overall financial liabilities of the Power Development Board (PDB) have been rising over the years despite the gradual decline in its systems and supply losses.
Available official figures showed that the PDB's net liabilities stood at over Tk 10.62 in the last fiscal, reflecting a 30 per cent or Tk 2.51 billion rise over that of the previous fiscal.
The Board had a total liability of Tk 54.60 billion against its outstanding receivables estimated at Tk 43.97 billion at the end of the financial year ending on June30, 2005 while the figures were Tk 51.77 billion and Tk 43.68 billion respectively in the previous fiscal (2003-04).
However, the PDB's systems loss declined to 9.76 per cent in the last fiscal from 10.16 per cent in the previous year while its supply losses fell to 19.9 per cent from the earlier level at 21.33 per cent, according to official statistics.
Taking its poor financial health into consideration, the government with the financial support from the Asian Development Bank (ADB) has already initiated a move to bring the PDB under a corporate structure.
Under the initiative, a New Zealand-based consulting firm recently took up the responsibility of preparing the corporatisation guidelines for the PDB, official sources said.
They further said the move aims at making the state-owned power agency operationally sound and commercially viable.
The net liabilities of the Dhaka Electric Supply Authority (DESA) also shot up by over 40 per cent to Tk 21.06 billion at the end of last fiscal (2004-05) compared to Tk 14.94 billion in the preceding fiscal, according to official figures.
Its overall liabilities of the DESA were calculated at Tk 27.95 billion as against its total outstanding receivables of Tk 6.89 billion as on June 30, 2005.
The figures were Tk 30.86 billion and Tk 15.92 billion respectively as on June 30, 2004.
The DESA's revenue collection also declined to Tk 12.53 billion in the fiscal 2004-05 from Tk 15.15 billion in the previous fiscal.
The average systems loss of the DESA that came into being in March 1990 with the objective of improving the power supply system in Dhaka and its adjoining areas was 21.94 per cent at the end of last fiscal.
Besides, the total outstanding electricity bills of the Rural Electrification Board (REB) with its subscribers were estimated at over Tk 4.26 billion until December of the 2005-06 fiscal while the amount was Tk 3.45 billion in the 2004-05 fiscal.
On the other hand, the Dhaka Electric Supply Company (DESCO) posted an operational profit of Tk 539 million during the 2004-05 fiscal compared to that of Tk 338 million in the previous fiscal.
Sources attributed the better performance of the DESCO to some prudent steps such as introduction of pre-paid billing systems, disconnection of illegal power connections and prevention of systems loss.