Financial Express print this

Experts for barge-mounted and small power plants
FE Report

Coordination between power and gas divisions, transparency, curbing systems loss, minimising political interventions were emphasised with a view to mitigating power crisis persisting across the country.
Commissioning of barge-mounted power plants and small power plants as well as skid-mounted plants might be best short-term solutions to the nagging power problems, said speakers at a dialogue Monday.
Multi-fuel usages instead of solely depending on gas-based plants are necessary for reducing pressures on gas reserves and smooth production of power.
Implementation of Roppur Atomic Power Plant at Ishwardi could play a significant role to cater to the increased demand of power as well, experts opined.
They made the above observations at a dialogue organised by the Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD) on Current Crisis in the Power Sector: Nature of the Problem and the Way Forward Monday at the city's BRAC Centre.
State Minister for Power Iqbal Hasan Mahmood attended the seminar as the chief guest while Awami League (AL) Presidium Member Sheikh Fazlul Karim Selim, former Power and Energy Minister Nooruddin Ahmed and Sardar Shakwat Hossain Bakul attended as special guests.
Former finance minister and the Chairman of Bank Asia M Syeduzzaman moderated the dialogue.
Iqbal Hasan Mahmood said that power plants based on private-public joint partnership would be encouraged as those would be economically viable.
He hinted that small power plants and barge-mounted plants would be installed within a very short time as the World Bank (WB) consented to provide loans in this connection.
Claiming himself as a successful businessman, the minister said a transparent balance sheet was needed for effective generation, distribution, transmission and billing of power.
Terming experiences of reform as 'bitter', he also said that there is hardly any alternative to aggressive reforms in the power sector no matter how bitter those turn out to be.
Mahmood claimed that the systems loss in the power sector was significantly reduced since last four years. He said that the efficiency ratio now stands at 84 per cent.
He hinted that commissioning of the country's lone coal-based power plant at Barapukuria by year-end would add 250mw power to the national grid. "A good system should be devised for the generation, transmission and distribution of power avoiding systems loss and attaining high efficiency".
AL Presidium Member Sheikh Selim said suspension of projects undertaken during the previous AL regime triggered the power crisis. Referring to 10 per cent annual growth of power demand, he claimed that AL undertook projects with a view to cope with the growing needs.
WB Country Director Christine Wallich said that transparency in all public procurement was necessary while crash programmes in the sector should be undertaken.
"International Finance Corporation (IFC) has shown interest in investing in power plants if the government ensures transparency in the sector", she said.
Former chairman of Bangladesh Power Development Board (BPDB) Nuruddin M Kamal said that political interference was hindering power generation.
The keynote speaker of the dialogue Shamsul Islam, who's also a former BPDB chairman, emphasised on improving maintenance and operation of power where gas and oil supplies are available.
He also advocated for reopening of shut-off power plants on a priority basis and conduct massive drives to disconnect illegal and unauthorisd connections.
Islam said large-scale expansion for Rural Electrification Board should be examined extensively.
Power Division Secretary Nazrul Islam, CPD Executive Director Debapriya Bhattacharya, President of Bangladesh Chamber of Industries Azad, former power secretary Toufiq Elahi, Member of Planning Commission (Power) Md Kaiser, Chairman of BPDB Akter Hossain, President of Energy Association Moazzem Hossain, Delwar Bakht, BUET professor Dil Afroz, among others, took part in the dialogue.