- Bangladesh imports 1,160MW electricity from India.
- Of which 160MW comes from Tripura at a rate of Tk7.78 kWh
- BPDB spent Tk16,980 crore in the last six years for importing electricity from India.
- 57% of the power generation capacity remains unused.
North Eastern state of India, Tripura wants to continue exporting 160MW electricity to Bangladesh for another 10 years.
A five-year agreement under which Bangladesh Power Development Board (BPDB) has been importing electricity from the landlocked state of India will expire in March. Ahead of that, in December, Tripura State Electricity Corporation applied to the Bangladeshi party to extend the agreement.
The Power Development Board will go ahead with the time extension though it is bearing the burden of overcapacity, said sources at the Power Division.
Currently, Bangladesh has a capacity to produce 21,239MW electricity against the demand for only 9,141MW per day.
Therefore, around 57% of the power generation capacity remains unused, for which the Power Development Board is counting losses in terms of capacity charges.
Experts say there is no point of extending the agreement with Tripura when Bangladesh is suffering for irrationally increasing its own power generation capacity.
"I don't know why the question of extension comes up when we are unable to use our own capacity," said Professor Dr Shamsul Alam, energy advisor to the Consumers Association of Bangladesh.
The country should have a proper policy in place for power import and export, as well as for purchasing electricity from independent power plants within the country.
BPDB Chairman Md Belayet Hossain said his organisation would extend the agreement to keep the transmission line operative.
"We have built 52 kilometers of transmission line across the border. If we stop importing electricity, the transmission line will remain unused," he said, adding that the Power Development Board would, however, negotiate a lower price this time.
Meanwhile, Nepal did not renew its contract after importing 40 MW electricity from Tripura last year.
Bangladesh started importing 500MW electricity from India in 2013 under a 35-year contract. Power import from Tripura began in 2016 with 100MW.
Having more deals signed, Bangladesh is currently importing 1,160MW electricity from India through eastern and western boarders at Tk6.08 kWh on average. Electricity from Tripura costs Tk7.78 kWh.
In the last six years, the BPDP spent Tk16,980 crore on electricity from India.