Power Development Board (PDB) isfacing an acute fund crunch to pay fares of the rental and quick rental powerplants and the oil purchasing bill.
PDB has to spend Tk42 crore a dayfor this purpose, of which Tk30 crore is to purchase oil and Tk12 crore as fare of the rental power plants,according to a PDB official.
Such a huge expenditure hampersother scheduled activities of PDB, as the state body would not get the fundfrom the government sources in time.
The board spent Tk600 crore fromits provident fund to pay the bill of rental and quick rental power plants inthe last few months.
A PDB member told The New Nationon Saturday, "We are spending Tk1260 crore monthly to pay as rent and oilpurchase bill to the private power plants."
The PDB struggles to clear thepayment of the private power plants fornow, even it has no money to meet the daily expenditure, the officialsaid.
There is no option left for thePDB but to raise the power price to clear such bills, he further said.
After delay in payment of the private power plants, someowners of those plants have been lobbing to the Ministry of Power and Energy toincrease electricity price, the PDB official informed this correspondent. InJune, PDB in its proposal on power price pointed out that it has to lose Tk12,000 crore if Bangladesh Energy Regulatory Commission (BERC) would not go immediately for at least a 50 percentprice hike.
The regulator has opted for adilly dallying process to hike power price fearing mass displeasure on the eveof Ramazan and Eid festival.
Meanwhile, Dr M Shamsul Alam, anenergy expert at the Consumers Association of Bangladesh (CAB), has opposedsuch a hike in power price, saying that a further hike would be an unbearableburden for the limited income groups, whilethe private power plants would gain from it.
On the rental power plants, hesaid, "The plan for setting up such plants is a suicidal move of thegovernment."
Dr Alam alleged that PrimeMinister's Energy Adviser Dr Tawfiq-e-Elahi Chowdhury is handling the Ministryof Power, Energy and Mineral resources in a wrong way without protecting theinterest of consumers.
BERC has hiked power pricesseveral times as it faced pressure from the adviser in the last one and halfyears ignoring the CAB's recommendations," Alam added.