Coronavirus: Electricity demand marks sharp fall for widespread closures
Publish- April 01, 2020, 01:49 AM
Sadrul Hasan - UNB Staff Writer
Update- April 01, 2020, 01:51 AM
The peak-time demand for electricity in the country has come down to about 9,300 MW as most industrial units remained closed due to the ongoing general holidays.
The government last week announced public holidays from March 29 to April 2 with the deployment of army personnel for limiting public gatherings and mass transports to check the spread of the novel coronavirus.
The five-day general holiday, however, automatically turned into a 10-day vacation because they coincide with the public holidays on the occasion of the Independence Day on March 26 and the weekends on March 27-28 and April 3-4.
According to available data with Bangladesh Power Development Board (BPDB), the peak demand of electricity on Monday was 9,312 MW in the evening while 7,364 MW in the daytime.
Normally, the demand for electricity goes upto over 10,000 MW in the evening while around 8,000 MW during the daytime.
The BPDB data shows that the peak demand in the evening of the corresponding period in 2019 was 10,006 MW while it was 8,108 MW during the daytime.
The data also shows that the country now utilising only less than half of its generation capacity as its installed capacity is 19,630 MW.
BPDB officials said there is no power shortage or load-shedding anywhere in the country.
The Power, Energy and Mineral Resources Ministry has taken a number of measures so that the country’s power and energy supply remains uninterrupted during the holidays.
Asking the officials concerned to remain alert, State Minister Power, Energy and Mineral Resources Nasrul Hamid said emergency services like supply of power, gas and LPG have to continue across the country so that people do not suffer in any situation.
He also said the demand for electricity and petroleum fuel has decreased substantially due to the suspension of production at factories as well as vehicular movement, which led to a loss.
Besides, the bill payment timeframe was extended for people considering the coronavirus outbreak for which about Tk 4,000 crore will not come to the government’s account as regular power and gas bills.
The state minister said his ministry will provide protective equipment to different departments with the help of different private power plant operators to facilitate medicare services to Covid-19 patients.
He said underscored the need for taking measures for its own staff and foreign nationals who are working in different power plants. “We’ve to think about the safety of our staff working in power plants and other establishments.”
Nasrul noted that about 9,000 foreign nationals normally work in power plants in the country but the number has come down to 3,000 now.