The Bangladesh government has announced staggered weekly holidays for industrial hubs to reduce the frequency and length of power cuts amid a lingering energy crisis.
The Department of Inspection for Factories and Establishments published a notice on the rescheduled holidays, dividing the areas into seven zones.
Citing the Labour Act, the department said different weekly holidays were fixed “in public interest” to ensure an uninterrupted power supply in the industrial zones across the country.
Friday is the weekly holiday in Bangladesh. After a meeting with representatives of top business associations on Aug 7, State Minister for Power, Energy and Mineral Resources Nasrul Hamid said each industrial area could take its holiday on different days, instead of shutting all factories only on Friday, to help allay the power crisis.
The system of rolling holidays will save at least 490 MW of electricity, according to Mostofa Azad Chowdhury, senior vice president of the Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry.
To stave off a shortage of the US dollar, Bangladesh stopped buying liquified natural gas from the spot market in June. More than half of Bangladesh’s power plants are fuelled by gas.
The government also suspended production at the power plants run by costly diesel, leading to an electricity shortage. Areas across the country are now experiencing recurring outages. Businesses also complained about disruption in production. Some suggested raising fuel oil prices to ensure uninterrupted power supply and the government finally raised the prices.