Utility service providers say there will be special arrangement so that pre-paid power and gas customers can get uninterrupted supply
As many as 33 lakh families with prepaid electricity and gas meters may be inconvenienced if they run out of balance during the ten-day vacation from March 26 to April 4.
However, the utility service providers said that there will be special arrangements for pre-paid meter customers during the period.
Titas Gas Transmission and Distribution Company Ltd, the country's largest gas distributor, has assured its customers by saying that there will be scope to recharge during the period.
"We have already directed the card recharging facilities to provide customers with special arrangements during the upcoming holidays. Besides, we will be monitoring round the clock," said Ali Mohammad Al-Mamun, managing director of Titas Gas.
The government on Monday announced that all government and private offices will be shut from March 26 to April 4 to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus in the country.
Only kitchen markets, hospitals and other emergency services will be open during this period. The Bangladesh Bank will instruct banks to limit their services during the period.
The announcement has put card meter customers in a fix over meter recharge.
Currently, the power sector has the highest number of pre-paid customers under its six electricity distributing companies in the country.
The distributing companies say they have enough facilities to provide uninterrupted supply to the users.
"We have taken up all the necessary measures to serve our customers during the 10-day vacation," said Engineer Bikash Dewan, Managing Director of Dhaka Power Distribution Company.
The company supplies electricity to the southern part of Dhaka and to the Narayanganj area. It said that there are enough outlets across its distribution area where users can recharge their cards.
Usually pre-paid power and gas service providers consider the customers if they run out of credit during government holidays or weekends. The customers enjoy the service till the next working day when banks reopen.
Meanwhile, customer can also recharge their meters by mobile banking service providers on holidays, which will remain open in upcoming 10-day vacation.
Apart from gas and electricity, the Dhaka Water Supply & Sewerage Authority (DWASA) also issued a notice to maintain uninterrupted water supply during the period.
Earlier on Sunday, the power and energy division of the Ministry of Power Energy and Mineral Resources decided not to impose any fine on delayed residential gas bill payments for February-May and electricity bill payment for February-April, amid the fears of coronavirus spread.
According to the Gas Distribution Policy-2014, the fine for unpaid gas bills starts from Tk10 for each month if the bill is paid within the next six months. The fine goes up to Tk20 each month if the bill remains unpaid for more than six months.