Dhaka, Jul 18 (EFE).- Bangladesh on Monday announced fresh measures to save power and oil consumption amid escalating energy prices in the world market, according to official sources.
Junior minister for power, energy, and mineral resources, Nasrul Hamid, told EFE that the government had decided to shut all diesel-run power plants and keep all petrol stations shut for one day every week until further notice as a part of the new measures.
“We were running power plants with diesel due to gas shortage. We are now closing the diesel-run plants, we also kept gas-fired plant shut,” he said.
About 60 percent of the country’s power plants run on gas. Diesel is a heavy petroleum fraction used as fuel in diesel engines.
Hamid said that the government took these steps as it was unable to afford the cost of energy, which has been rising steeply in the international market since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February.
“The price of energy has increased in the global market, this is why we cannot supply enough energy to power plants. We don’t know long the crisis will linger,” he said.
Hamid added that due to the government’s decision of closing diesel-run power plants the country might face 1,000 megawatts of power supply shortage.
“We have decided to hold government meetings mostly online. We are also requesting the private sector to do (the same). Due to travel for such meetings, a lot of petrol gets burnt. This measure will help us save petrol,” he said.
The deputy minister said that the government would also strictly enforce other measures previously implemented to reduce power consumption.
Bangladesh government had ordered all shops and malls to shut by 8pm, although the decision had been postponed temporarily to facilitate the businesses ahead of the Eid-ul-Adha festival, which was celebrated on July 10.
On Jul.7, the Bangladesh government imposed a ban on illumination at all sorts of events at homes, community centers, shopping malls and both government and private-sector offices.
Announcing the ban, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s energy adviser Tawfiq-e-Elahi Chowdhury at a press conference in Dhaka said that they were also planning other austerity measures, including reducing the use of air conditioners, keeping their temperature above 25 degree Celsius and asking people to complete wedding celebrations by 7pm.
While no official order, has been issued in this regard so far, experts have warned of a greater impact of the power crisis if it continues for too long.
“If there is a crisis, production in factories will get affected, the export will get reduced. And if exports are reduced, foreign exchange reserve will be affected,” Fahmida Khatun, Executive Director of the independent think-tank Centre for Policy Dialogue, recently commented to EFE.
According to the latest data, Bangladesh on Sunday faced a shortfall of 1,661 megawatts of power as the country’s power plants produced 12,104 megawatts against the demand for 13,765 megawatts during peak hours. EFE