Power cuts are likely to ease from this month as the government is actively considering giving the Power Development Board (PDB) more funds to run its oil-fired power units that share around 40 percent of its total generation capacity.
"We're hopeful about getting the additional funds to run oil-fired power units soon," a PDB official said, adding that the PDB sent a proposal to the finance ministry seeking a total of Taka 650 crore to meet the increasing costs of power generation about a month back.
Night-time power outage will soon improve significantly as the PDB will be able to supply more power to household consumers with the irrigation of boro ending by mid of the month.
As the power generation by oil-based power plants is excessively high, the PDB runs these power units only to meet high peak-hours demand and it has to spend around Taka 23 crore daily to supply fuel to power plants, including gas and coal.
"But due to shortage of funds, the PDB was forced to shut most of its oil-based power units over the last two
months resulting in a rise of power cuts," said the official.
At present, PDB is spending from Taka 12 crore to 15 crore for buying fuel for power plants and it needs additional Taka five crore daily to buy fuel for operating its all oil-fired power units.
"If the government gives additional Taka five crore daily, the PDB will be able to run most of its oil-fired power plants during peak hours that will certainly help us keep power cuts at a tolerable level," the PDB official added.
According to the PDB, fuel costs for its oil-based power plants vary depending on the demand of electricity. Out of its total generation costs of 23.96 crore for fuel, PDB spent around Taka 15.35 crore for oil on May 1 and out of Taka 15.25 crore, Taka 7.56 crore was spent for oil on May 2.
It spent Taka 3.93 crore out of Taka 12.62 crore and Taka 12.13 crore out of Taka 21.06 crore for oil.
The country's total demand for electricity varies between 5500-megawatt (MW) and 6500MW during peak hours in summer and oil-based power units have a de-rated generation capacity of around 2000MW of the PDB's total generation capacity of 5000MW.
The PDB also gets supply of electricity from gas based- plants, Kaptai hydro power unit and a coal-burnt power plant in Baranpukuria. The PDB says demand for electricity grows faster with the hot summer starting from May-June.
The capital alone consumed electricity from 2000 MW to 2100 MW during the last summer and the load shedding varied between 100 MW and 200 MW during the peak hours, the sources added.
The PDB considers January-May as difficulty period for it to keep the power supply stable because of peak irrigation demand. After April, demand of electricity for household-use start going up with a rise in mercury in summer weather and that trend continues until June-July.
"And after that the rainy season begins reducing vexing bite of summer that ultimately helps minimize pressure on electricity," said the PDB official.