The government on Thursday made an appeal to the people to keep at least one light switched off and to limit the use of air conditioners at their residences, offices and shops to get some respite from nagging power outages.
Country’s power generation dropped further in the last two days to around 3490MW from the March average of 3770MW as four old units of Ghorashal, Shikalbaha, Shahjibazar and Khulna power plants were shut down because of technical problems.
‘We know the people are suffering because of frequent power outages. We are trying to manage the supply side with whatever capacity we have,’ said special assistant to chief adviser for power and energy ministry M Tamim at a press briefing at his secretariat.
He urged the people to come forward for a prudent management of demand side.
‘We request the people to keep at least one light switched off and use of ACs as minimum as they can,’ he said, quoting an estimate that ACs in the Dhaka city alone consume around 400MW of electricity.
‘If ACs set temperature at 24 degree instead of 22, it could save around 50MW. Besides, if each residence and office keeps one light off, another 50MW could be saved,’ he said, saving 100MW was big in the present context of huge gap in demand and supply.
He urged the consumers to make sure that their ACs, lights and fans were switched off when they were out.
The Dhaka Water Supply and Sewerage Authority has been requested to operate their water pumps with generators during evening peak hours, while the Dhaka City Corporation has been advised to switch on lights only one side of the roads.
He estimated that the average monthly electricity production, which was 3000MW in March 2006 and 3100MW in March 2007, increased to 3770MW in 2008.
‘But the demand increased by around 400MW each year,’ he said.
The special assistant said that as most of the power units were very old, their generation often fluctuated. ‘In the last 12 hours, four old power generation units faced forced shut-down because of different technical and mechanical problems,’ he said.
Tamim claimed success in supplying electricity in irrigation areas during this boro season as they did not receive any complaint from farmers.
He said around 90MW electricity from a new plant would be added to the national grid by April, another160MW by May and 570MW by December.
Tamim also requested the domestic and industrial users to reduce gas consumption so that the power plants could get adequate supplies.
An investment of around $18-20 billion would be needed to produce required gas and electricity by 2025.
‘The crisis of gas could turn even worse if we do not go for huge exploration activities. But I am hopeful that we will find enough gas.’