The Bangladesh Energy Regulatory Commission (BERC) has failed to protect consumer rights and business environment as it could not make regulations to determine tariffs, consumer rights activist, experts and industrialists alleged yesterday.
At a view exchange meeting at the National Press Club, they asked the BERC to play a proactive role in making regulations for determination of tariff.
The meeting titled "The Role of Bangladesh Energy Regulatory Commission Act, 2003 and BERC to Protect Consumers' Right to Energy" was organised by the Consumers Association Bangladesh (CAB).
In the concluding remark, CAB President Ghulam Rahman, who once also served as the chairman of BERC and Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC), said that the existing BERC Act was not bad, but its implementation was the main problem.
"Lack of capacity is to some extent responsible for its poor implementation," he said.
Talking about the fuel price adjustment following the downturn in global oil prices, Ghulam Rahman said, "It is true that oil price in the global market has fallen again, but it might not reach a position that the government can decrease the price in the local market."
As a panel discussant, Humayun Rashid, managing director and chief executive officer of Energypac Power Generation Limited, said that they want more enforcement of regulations in the sector.
"I expect the regulator to protect me as an investor and as a consumer," Humayun said.
"Low-earners in remote areas like Jhenaidah are paying more for availing cylinder Liquefied Natural Gas (LPG) while a citizen in Dhaka is enjoying cheaper pipelined gas supply. Rights of remote consumers should be protected," he further added.
At the beginning of the meeting, Barrister Jyotirmoy Barua, advocate, Bangladesh Supreme Court, gave a presentation evaluating the BERC Act 2003.
In his presentation, he recommended making the regulatory body more proactive and powerful.
Among others, Professor Dr M Shamsul Alam, energy advisor to CAB, economist M M Akash and architect Mobasher Hossain spoke at the programme.