The work on installing pre-paid electricity meters nationwide is going on at a snail’s pace with only about 10 per cent of the country’s consumers covered in over a decade.
So far only 46,77,658 consumers have received prepaid meters against a total countrywide consumers of 4,15,49,092, which lags far behind the government’s much-hyped promise of accelerating the process.
This figure was revealed by the latest government document, titled: “Bangladesh Economic Review 2022”, published by the Ministry of Finance on the occasion of the national budget for FY2022-23.
According to this review and other documents of six power distribution entities, the Bangladesh Power Development Board (BPDB) has been leading in installing the pre-paid meters.
It has installed the highest number of 14,46,414 meters for its consumers while its total number of its consumers is 32,36,886. The coverage of prepaid meters is nearly 45 per cent in the BPDB distribution areas.
However, the BPDB is the principal organization in the country’s power sector with its prominent role to be a single buyer of electricity from the private sector as well as the main power generation entity.
It has been operating as a distribution entity in many areas across the country as well.
The BPDB is followed by the Bangladesh Rural Electrification Board (BREB) securing the highest position in terms of numbers in installing a total 13,10,568 pre-paid meters for its customers.
But in terms of percentage in the prepaid meter coverage, the BREB has been the lowest as it has the largest consumer base having a total customers of 3,33,23171. The prepaid meter coverage is less than four per cent.
Electricity: Progress in pre-paid meter installation is slow despite high hope
As per the Bangladesh Economic Review, the Dhaka Power Distribution Company Limited (DPDC) has installed a total of 5,92,522 against its total consumers 15,38,826. The prepaid meter coverage is about 30 per cent.
The DPDC has been operating as a distribution agency since 2005 in the West, South-West, central part of Dhaka city receiving assets and liabilities from the defunct Dhaka Electricity Supply Authority (DESA).
Dhaka city’s other distribution agency—Dhaka Electric Supply Company Limited (Desco) has installed 6,04,557 meters against its total consumers of 10,81,847.
The prepaid meter coverage of Desco, which has been operating in Dhaka city’s North and North-Eastern areas, is highest at about 56 percent among any distribution company.
A total of 3,72,513 prepaid meters have been installed by the West Zone Power Distribution Company Limited (WZPDCL) which has been operating in 21 districts in the country’s South-West region, mainly in Khulna, Barisal and Faridpur region since 2005.
The total consumers of WZPDCL is 14,20,214 while its prepaid meter coverage is about 26 per cent.
The Northern Electricity Supply Company Limited (Nesco) has installed 3,51,084 prepaid meters for its consumers while its total number of consumers is 9,48,148.
The Nesco’s prepaid meter coverage is more than 35 per cent.
The company has been operating in 16 districts in the country’s Rajshahi and Rangpur divisions since 2016.
State Minister for Power, Energy and Mineral Resources Nasrul Hamid has recently said that his ministry has a target to install 70.20 lakh prepaid meters across the country by the year 2024 as part of the government campaign to ensure uninterrupted power supply.
Source: United News of Bangladesh