The Bangladesh Energy Regulatory Commission (BERC) will decide on Wednesday (January 26) whether to increase the price of gas and electricity.
Commission sources said that Bangladesh Power Development Board (BPDB) has already proposed to increase the wholesale price of electricity with all the gas distribution companies. But the commission meeting will decide tomorrow whether to start the process of price increase after taking these proposals into account.
Commission sources further said that after reviewing the situation, if it is felt that the price hike is necessary, then the proposals will be taken into account. And if it is felt that there is no need to increase the price, then the offers will be sent back. In that case, the price will not increase for the time being.
Recently, Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal said that the prices of electricity and fuel will not be increased. He also warned that action would be taken against those involved in gas and electricity prices rising in Corona’s situation.
In the ongoing epidemic, a new variant of the corona, Omicron’s ‘Tsunami’, is beginning to have a new impact on people’s lives. The price of fuel oil has gone up in the country a few days ago. Which has affected the prices of all kinds of goods including fares in public transport. Then again, if the price of gas and electricity goes up, there will be extra pressure on people’s lives. Multiple sources said the government was “thinking” about the matter again for good reason.
However, several officials in the energy department said that the recent rise in fuel prices was “under pressure from the finance ministry”. They say the price of fuel oil has been raised for fear of financial loss to BPC.
BERC sources said, “Over the last week and this week, the country’s gas distribution companies and the BPDB have proposed a hike in gas and electricity prices as per the schedule. A meeting of the commission will be held on Wednesday to discuss these issues. If there is a need to increase the price then the process will start.”
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According to the commission law, if the commission takes cognizance of the proposals, the price will be fixed at the public hearing. The commission will fix the new price within 90 working days if the companies applying in the public hearing can prove the reasonableness of the price increase.
A member of the BERC, speaking on condition of anonymity, said, “We have not considered the proposals before, otherwise the price hike will be considered. An emergency meeting of the commission has been called tomorrow (Wednesday) to find out what will happen.”
According to Petrobangla sources, the state-owned natural gas distribution companies have recently proposed to increase the price of gas for two residential stoves by Tk 975 to Tk 2,100. It has been proposed to increase the price at a significant rate in the connection of one stove and also in the industry. According to the concerned, only 150 million cubic feet of LNG is being bought from the spot market in the country every day. Besides, the 500 million cubic feet of LNG that is being bought daily is also being bought at a fixed price. Besides, if the price of gas has not increased in the country, then the question has arisen as to why the price should be doubled.
According to the Department of Energy, LNG imports will require a subsidy of Tk 70,000 crore on fertilizers, gas and electricity. However, only a subsidy of Tk 12,500 crore has been allocated from the finance department. And Petrobangla has complained that there is no money available for LNG.