Delayed implement of big power plants forcing renewal of rental

Anisul Islam Noor

The government has generated around 3750MW electricity by setting up 44 quick and rental power plants under a short-term plan to meet the growing demand of power in the last four years, Power development Board (PDB) sources said.

As part of Power Sector Master Plan-2010, the government has signed agreements with several private sector entrepreneurs aiming to set up load-based big and permanent power plants, which will generate gas and coal- fired electricity at low rate.

The sources added that the deals were signed with a view to making a balance in the electricity tariff, while the short-term rental and quick plants will be finished within three to five years.

If the plan was implemented smoothly, a balance of power tariff would be achieved, the sources opined.

But the power sector cannot work according to its plan, an official of the PDB’s planning and development section said, alleging that a section of influential private power plant entrepreneurs are creating barrier in different way to implement big power plant projects,

By making delayed to install the duel fuel combined power plants they are being gained as the government has to force to renew the contract of quick and rental power plants, he said.

Resulting in dependent on costly fuel oil run rental and quick rental power plants, the government was forced to take step for raising power price frequently in last four years.

Despite providing subsidy amounting to about Tk 3850 crore, the government has to raise power price a number of times to make financial stability in the sector.

Experts said the government failed to implement big volume-based load power plants as a pro-government business group has been awarded contract of several power plants one after another without any consideration of their capability in the sector.

PDB sources said Summit Group, a big player of private sector, participated in 13 tender till October 2011. Of them, the group was first awarded Sayedpur and Santahar power plants with a generation capacity of 100MW each.

Later, the company got Bibiana-1, Bibiana-2 and Gehnaghat power plants with a total generation capacity of around 1100MW. But Summit Group has been delaying the construction of these power plants showing various excuses.

Recently, it has issued a letter to PDB expressing its unwillingness to implement the Bibiana-1 project. Both bibiana-1 and bibiana-2 were scheduled to start generation in the middle of 2013. Now these two units are uncertain to come into generation within the scheduled period.

If the big size power plant projects could be implemented in time, the government could get relief from the burden of costly electricity, which is now bought at a cost up to Tk18 per unit.

In the meantime, Summit Group has implemented some rental power plant projects with generation capacity of around 300MW, though the company has failed to build the gas-run big power plants.

The government has failed to keep its promise for generating 4500MW electricity as the Summit Groups failed to implement three big power plants.

Rental power plants run by summit Groups are Saver, Chandina, Madabdi, Rupganj, Maouna,Jangalia and Ullapara with a generation capacity 10MW  to 45 MW, while Madanganj plant is generated around 100MW.

Meanwhile, the government has renewed the contract of seven rental power plants for another one year with the same condition and rate. The rental power plants have got the invested capital with profit according to the first deal signed with the government.

Professor Mustafizur Rahman, executive director of the Center for Policy Dialogue (CPD) told The New Nation yesterday that these power plants were given without tender under special Act with an understanding that the company would invest capital with profit in three to five- year term.

The rate of the renewed rental power plants should be re-fixed adjusting the real cost, he said.

M Tamim, former adviser of last caretaker government said due to delay of electricity generation from the coal and gas-based power plants, dependent on the costly rental system will be increased.

An official of Summit Group, wishing not to be named, told this reporter that the company was trying its best to come into generation in time.

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