The problem of voltage and frequency fluctuations, frequent and unexpected power outages is old. People in the power sector say that even though the government has given priority to increasing power generation, consumers are not getting quality services. Now the big challenge for the government is to ensure uninterrupted power supply. For this, attention has to be paid to the development of transmission and distribution lines.
The power department says various steps have been taken to provide uninterrupted power and improved services to the customers. The allocation in this sector is also increasing in the budget. The allocation for the power and energy sector has increased by about 13.5 percent this time. In terms of money, this time the allocation is Tk 26,484 crore. Earlier, the allocation for the fiscal year 2020-21 was Tk 26,858 crore.
Mohammad Hossain, director general of Power Cell, a policy research institute of the power department , told Prothom Alo that there were still problems in the transmission and distribution lines. For logical reasons, priority has been given to power generation in early 2009. Intensive activities have been going on for two years.
According to the power department’s plan, all distribution lines and substations in the metropolitan area will be taken underground to modernize the power system.
By 2030, the transmission line will be 26 thousand kilometers. At present there are about 13 thousand kilometers. In the last one era, it has increased by about 5 thousand kilometers. By 2030, 6 lakh 70 thousand kilometers of distribution lines will be laid. At present there are 6 lakh 14 thousand kilometers. In one era, it has increased to 3 lakh 54 thousand kilometers. No one wants to agree to give land to build a transmission line tower. So it takes a lot of time. Now the landowners are being compensated.
State Minister for Power, Energy and Mineral Resources Nasrul Hamid told Prothom Alo that the power department was lagging behind. Three times the capacity of power generation is required in the transmission line. Now there are one and a half times. So uninterrupted power supply is not going to be available all the time. It will be ready in the next three years.
However, the Center for Policy Dialogue (CPD), a non-governmental research organization, believes that production is one of the key factors in the government’s allocation for uninterrupted power supply. Regarding this year’s budget allocation, the CPD said in June that the allocation for the power department has been more in terms of transmission and distribution than production. However, if the Rooppur power plant is taken into account, this time 82 percent of the development budget has been allocated to the power sector. And 19 percent has been allocated for transmission and distribution. The power department should shift the allocation from production to transmission and distribution.
According to the CPD, 102 projects under the Department of Power and Energy will be implemented in this year’s budget. Of these, 40 projects were supposed to be completed in the last financial year but did not. These have been re-allocated by extending the time. Of these projects, 15 are for distribution and 6 for implementation. These projects could not be completed on time.
CPD research director Khandaker Golam Moazzem told Prothom Alo that there was a huge shortage of production and people were interested there. The government has also given priority to it. Equal transmission and distribution were not important. As it is completely under the control of the public sector, private investment like production has not come. However, the government’s attention has increased. Investment in operations has been increasing for two years.