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Thursday, December 25, 2014, Poush 11, 1421, Robiul Awal 2, 1436 Hijr

Power Gas Price Hike
BERC to take more time 
Published : Thursday, 25 December, 2014,  Time : 12:00 AM,  View Count : 15
The decision of Bangla-desh Energy Regulatory Commission (BERC) on any possible raise in power tariff and gas price is likely to be delayed as the watchdog body is taking more time to weigh the situation.
The downward trend of fuel price on global market as well as the inside political pressure might be a possible reason to delay the decision making process, said a BERC official.
However, BERC member Dr Selim Mahmud attributed the delay to non-receipt of certain necessary information from some gas distribution companies.
"We've sought some additional information from gas distribution companies. But they've not sent those yet. Now, we'll not wait for them," he told UNB.
Dr Selim Mahmud also admitted that the BERC have to take into consideration the fuel price situation on the global market we well.State-owned Power Development Board (PDB) submitted its proposal in the first half of October for raising the bulk power tariff while the state-owned gas distribution companies placed their proposal in mid-November to hike the gas price at retail consumer level.
Receiving the proposals, BERC chairman and other members gave an indication that the regulatory body would soon hold public hearing and make its decision to give effect from January 1, 2015.
"But now, it's not possible as BERC is yet to complete the necessary process like holding open meeting, issuing notice to stakeholders and holding a final public hearing," said Dr Selim Mahmud.
He, however, denied any pressure from opposition political parties who are dead against any such move and also warned the government of greater movement if the energy regulator proceeds with the plan to raise power tariff and gas price.
Dr Selim Mahmud said the BERC will try to hold the public hearing in January 2015.
The PDB has appealed to the regulator to raise the bulk power tariff to Tk 5.51 per kilowatt hour (each unit) from the existing Tk 4.70 per unit.
Seeking a new tariff effective from January 1, the PDB said if the bulk power tariff is not raised, the government subsidy to the power sector will go up to Tk 70 billion (Tk 7000 crore). But once the bulk power tariff is raised, the subsidy will come down to Tk 40 billion (Tk 4000 crore).
Official sources said that the PDB would have to incur a loss of Tk 1.85 per unit as the electricity is being sold to distribution companies and other bulk consumers at Tk 4.70 per unit while the production cost is Tk 6.54 per unit.
The BERC raised the power tariff by 6.96 per cent at the retail consumer level on March 13 this year giving effect from March 1.
Several power distribution companies have also sought hike in retail electricity tariff ranging from 14.75 percent to 18.50 percent. The Rural Electrification Board (REB) has asked for a retail level electricity tariff hike by 15.50 percent, the West Zone Power Distribution Company (WZPDCO) by 18.5 percent and the Dhaka Electric Supply Company (DESCO) by 14.75 percent.
The gas distribution companies have sought to increase the price of natural gas by up to 122 percent.
Six gas distribution companies-Titas Gas Transmission and Distribution Company Ltd; Jalalabad Gas Transmission and Distribution System Ltd; Bakhrabad Gas Distribution Company Ltd; Pashchimanchal Gas Company Ltd; Karnaphuli Gas Distribution Company Ltd; and Sundarban Gas Company Ltd-sought a similar hike in natural gas tariff although they submitted their proposals separately to the BERC, the Commission official added.
They have sought to increase the price of double burners in households to Tk 1,000, up from Tk 450 and that for single burners Tk 850, up from Tk 400.
Gas price for commercial consumers was proposed to be raised to Tk 350 per thousand cubic feet (Mcf), up from Tk 268.09 per Mcf; industries to Tk 220 per Mcf up from Tk 165.91 per Mcf; tea estates Tk 200 per Mcf from Tk 165.91 per Mcf; power plants feeding the grid to Tk 84 per Mcf from Tk 79.82 per Mcf; and fertiliser factories to Tk 80 per Mcf from Tk 72.92 per Mcf.
The hike for CNG filling stations has been proposed at Tk 32 per cubic meter, up from Tk 23, meaning that the retail consumers will have to pay Tk 40 a unit, up from Tk 30, as per the proposal.
The BERC earlier increased gas prices for all categories of consumers with effect from August 1, 2009.    ?UNB

Editor : Iqbal Sobhan Chowdhury
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