Frequent power cuts are back causing immense sufferings to the consumers, worst in rural areas, as mercury soars to 32-35 degrees centigrade during the current summer heat.
People have been experiencing 3-5 power cuts a day each for 30-40 minutes in cities, including the capital, and up to 12 power cuts a day in rural areas for the past one month.
Asma Khatun, a resident at Rampura in Dhaka, said that they had been experiencing 3-4 power cuts a day for the past four weeks while there were one or two power cuts a day until the first week of March.
Arefa Begum, a resident at Chunoti village of Lohagara upazila in Chittagong, said that they were experiencing power cuts with an interval of 60-90 minutes and the each power cut continued for up to two hours.
Among the divisional headquarters, Chittagong city dwellers are suffering the worst as the frequency of power cuts has been increased to 8-10 times a day with shorter duration than the rural areas in Chittagong division, according to reports from New Age correspondents.
The power supply situation in the rest of the country is more or less similar with power cuts by 4-5 times in the urban areas while 10-12 times in the rural areas a day.
The Rural Electrification Board received 4,700MW power supply on an average during peak hours against its demand of about 5,300MW in the past four weeks, according to its report prepared on Thursday considering power demand and supply situation at 7:00pm, when demand for electricity reached the peak.
Dhaka Power Distribution Company managing director Bikash Dewan, however, said that they were receiving electricity supply as per the demand.
In the past week, the distribution company received more than 1,400MW which was estimated as the highest demand in its distribution areas covering a major part of Dhaka city and entire Narayanganj city.
Officials concerned attributed the public sufferings for frequent power cuts to shortage of gas supplies to the power plants and distribution networks vulnerable to nor’wester.
They said that the Power Development Board, the country’s single buyer of greed feeding electricity, was able to supply about 9,800MW during peak hours, from 6:00pm to 12:00am, against the demand for 11,000MW with the existing gas supplies at the rate of about 26.90 million cubic metres per day.
Power Development Board chairman Khaled Mahmud told New Age on Thursday that the electricity supply situation would improve soon as the government increased gas supplies diverting from the fertiliser factories from the day.
He said that the power board had prepared to generate 11,000MW from May.
A recent estimate of power board, however, shows that the power demand would shoot up to 12,500MW from May, a power board official said, adding that the demand might rise further if there were no bottlenecks in transmission and distribution.
The power board also supplies electricity to the consumers in the city corporations and municipal areas in Chittagong, Mymensingh and Sylhet divisions.
Asked about power board’s distribution situation, Khaled said that the distribution utilities had to stop power supply to an area on safety grounds whenever it seemed nor’wester might hit the area causing power cables to be snapped by broken branches of trees.
The Dhaka Power Distribution Company managing director said that banners and other advertising materials often snapped overhead power distribution lines.
He said that projects to develop underground power distribution networks in his areas were under implementation.
At a meeting on Wednesday, power division secretary Ahmad Kaikaus asked the power distribution utilities to cut off all branches of trees grown above or parallel to the power supply lines in the next 15 days, said officials.
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