US seeks power sector transparency

State Dept team in Dhaka

Diplomatic Correspondent | Published: 02:04, Jan 15,2020


The United States has started engaging the Bangladesh authorities on ensuring good governance and transparency in the energy sector in general and power sector in particular as part of its Indo-Pacific Strategy, a US government official said in Dhaka on Tuesday.

The initiative would include making procurement processes competitive and transparent, assessing contractual frameworks and reliability standards, reviewing tariff rates and design etc. under a power sector programme of the US Department of State, she said in an informal briefing at the US embassy.   

A US delegation is now visiting Bangladesh in this regard to meet officials at the Power Division, the Sustainable and Renewable Energy Development Authority and the Bangladesh Energy Regulatory Commission.

Assessing ‘how power is put in the [national] grid’ and how transmission and distribution systems are run is important keeping in consideration the growth potential in the market for satisfaction of the consumers of power, she said.  

Ensuring a reliable, cheap and clean power supply would be key as the US companies, such as Nike and GAP, which import apparels from Bangladesh in huge quantities, would opt for clean energy for market compliance as well as for their buyers’ satisfaction, said the official. 

The US Department of State launched the programme on enhancing development and energy growth for a sustainable and secure energy market to strengthen energy security, increase energy diversification and trade throughout the Indo-Pacific region, according to documents released by the Department of State.

The power sector programme is conducted through the combination of leveraging of the US institutional capacity, direct contracting, and peer-to-peer exchanges with regulators and system operators through inter-agency agreements.

The US authorities would provide technical assistance in improving the regulatory environment and procurement processes of the partner countries and level the playing field for foreign investors, develop national and regional markets, use development finance to catalyse and deploy private capital, foster business-to-business connections among US firms and foreign buyers.

The programme currently focuses on energy markets in Australia, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Brunei, Burma, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, the Maldives, Mongolia, Nepal, New Zealand, the Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Thailand, and Vietnam, among others.

The programme would expand public-private partnership, foster business-to-business connections, and facilitate partner governments’ set transparent, market-based and best-value energy policies.  

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