Bangladesh Threatened by Two Weeks Power Outage. PHOTO/Reuters
DHAKA – Bangladesh likely to experience power outage for the next two weeks. The country is experiencing higher electricity consumption due to rising temperatures. This condition causes the power plant to run out of fuel.
Bangladesh has been suffering from a severe electricity shortage since April as a heatwave that sent electricity demand soaring and then a deadly cyclone cut off the supply of natural gas for fuel generation.
The country is also limiting imports of liquefied natural gas (LNG), its main power generation fuel, after record high prices in the second half of 2022, which made the fuel too expensive.
“This condition will probably last for another two weeks,” said Nasrul Hamid, Minister of State for Manpower, Energy and Mineral Resources, as quoted by Reuters, Sunday (4/6/2023). “This problem occurs because we cannot ensure sufficient supply of coal and gas,” Hamid continued.
The power outage is threatening Bangladesh’s vital apparel sector which accounts for more than 80 percent of exports and its suppliers such as Walmart, Gap Inc, H&M, VF Corp, Zara and American Eagle Outfitters.
The loss of those exports would exacerbate problems around its dollar reserves, which had plunged by nearly a third in the 12 months to late April to a seven-year low, and limited its ability to pay for fuel imports.
Hamid also said officials of the country’s electricity sector had been working to prevent fuel shortages for the past two months, but higher consumption was complicating the task.
“The impending shutdown of the main coal-fired power unit from Tuesday due to fuel shortages over the next few days could further exacerbate the situation,” said a senior official from the power ministry.
“Only the rains can give us some relief, because the demand for electricity decreases when it rains,” said the official, who declined to be named as he was not authorized to speak to the media.
Frequent power outages have also drawn criticism from opposition parties. “The whole country is almost without electricity. People are getting sick from the extreme heat,” said Ruhul Kabir Rizvi, a senior leader of the main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party.