The TIB said the burden of government waste was becoming unbearable for the citizens as the government had been paying money to private power plants keeping them idle
The Power Division has claimed the Transparency International Bangladesh's (TIB) analysis of the power supply system, which was released on May 20 this year, was one-sided, unrealistic and motivated.
In a statement issued on Sunday, the division strongly criticised the TIB for coming up with what it called "fragmented" analysis of the country's power sector in a situation when the novel coronavirus has caught the entire world off guard and the world economy, including the economies of the developed countries, is taking a beating from the pandemic.
The TIB in its analysis said that the burden of government waste was becoming unbearable for the citizens as the government had been paying money to private power plants keeping them idle.
The organisation also urged the government to cancel contracts with the rental power plants and revise the Power Sector Master Plan 2016.
In its reaction to the TIB statement, the Power Division said power generation plan is usually adopted according to the demand of the power sector in the country, like in other countries.
Following the plan, the PSMP-2016 was prepared by using modern and scientific equipment, considering projection of electricity demand, availability of energy, regional load pattern, transmission system and Least Cost Option, it said.
"Any plan is an ongoing process that is updated from time to time based on the given situation. The PSMP was updated in 2016 in continuation of the updates in 2005 and 2010. Initiatives have been taken up to update the master plan again," the statement added.
The Power Division's statement further read that power generation plants in all countries of the world keep a higher production capacity than the actual demand there, which is commonly known as reserve margin.
The logical reasons for keeping reserve margin are: shutdown for routine repair and maintenance of power plants, power outages due to accident or other reasons and production capacity reduction due to age of power plants. The reserve margin is more than 100 percent in some countries such as Germany. Even in our neighbouring country India, the reserve margin is more than 70 percent.
The Power Division also said it has been working to assess the overall damage in the sector so that the power sector can move forward with a specific action plan to deal with any crisis in future.
It went on to say that the TIB did not mention any report or recommendation in its press release. Even the TIB's quote on subsidy to farmers for using electricity in irrigation was misinterpreted and false, it said.
The tariff set by the Bangladesh Energy Regulatory Commission (BERC) on electricity used in irrigation is the minimum, the division said. In addition, 20 percent subsidy payable to farmers for irrigation is maintained, but the Power Division or the Power Cell did not propose cancelling it.
The statement added that the Power Division has embarked on a number of initiatives for the expansion of renewable energy in line with the government's renewable energy policy. SREDA has been established as a single institution in this regard, it said.
"But the reality is Bangladesh's land scarcity and weather-climate is not as favourable as in the world's renewable energy rich countries. So, we are working to ensure the maximum utilisation of renewable resources through the use of our adaptable and sustainable technology," it said.
Bangladesh has installed the largest solar home system in the world. Solar power is a proven potential renewable energy source and the government is giving priority to the installation of rooftop solar panels.
"We hope the above explanation will put an end to any misunderstanding about the issues mentioned in the TIB press release. The power division is committed to supply uninterrupted quality electricity to everyone at an affordable price," the Power Division statement added.