Unscheduled power cuts rile Chattogram as PDB's zone-based timetable goes haywire

Authorities have failed to coordinate area-based scheduled outages in Chattogram, saying it will take some more time for them to carry out the process.

Chattogram Correspondentbdnews24.com
Published : 20 July 2022, 03:45 PM
Updated : 20 July 2022, 03:45 PM

The government has planned one-hour zone-based rolling power cuts with timetables announced in advance in an effort to save electricity.

An official schedule for the outage was published but the Chattogram Power Development Board ignored that and came up with a draft list of their own based on sub-station feeders.

However, PDB stumbled on the first day of the pre-meditated 'load-shedding' or rotating blackouts.

Officials said the management lapse was caused by a gap in the demand and supply of power from the national grid and complications arising from the draft list.

The government decided to stop supplying fuel to eight diesel-run power plants, each with 1,000 MW production capacity, to save up precious US dollars.

Before that, the government stopped LNG imports from spot markets after the Russia-Ukraine war triggered a global energy crisis.

Now the authorities are trying to balance out the reduced production with systematic power outages since Tuesday.

Rezaul Karim, the chief engineer and PDB Chattogram, said: “The consumer will receive electricity based on total production and supply. Coordinating a list for this is tough.”

“Power supply always fluctuates. It’d be easier to manage if it was fixed.”

“Chattogram requires at least 1,300 MW of electricity every day on average, including the industrial zone. But the demand dropped to 900-950 MW today due to the rains. So no power cuts were enforced in Chattogram today,” Rezaul said.

His claim, however, was refuted by reports of several outages in different parts of the city by noon.

The draft list accounted for load-shedding of 100 MW on Tuesday, but the outages accumulated into a total of 260-320 MW power cuts.

According to the PDB, the power demand on Tuesday morning was 1,426 in Chattogram but the national grid could supply 1,166 MW. And at night, the demand was 1,411 MW against an available 1,091 MW.

The multiple outages prompted residents of the city to look for the load-shedding timetable. But PDB published no zone-based list.

“Load-shedding cannot be programmed for automated execution. We've to open and close lines by removing or attaching 450 feeders under 83 sub-stations,” Rezaul explained.

He added that it will take several days more to prepare an area-based list and get used to it.