- Govt decided to reduce power generation to cut costs
- There will be a shortage of 1000-1500 megawatts of electricity
- Electricity production using diesel will remain suspended for now
- Petrol pumps will remain closed one day a week
- Shopping malls and shops will have to close by 8pm
- Area-wise load shedding from tomorrow
- Government and private office meetings will be held virtually
- Office hours may be the reduced by 1-2 hours
- No air conditioning in mosques other than prayer times
The government has decided to halt production of all the diesel-run power plants -- which provide some 2.79% of the country's electricity -- currently in operation across the country until further notice.
It has also decided to keep fuel stations closed for a day every week in a bid to tackle the ongoing power and energy crisis.
Energy Advisor to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina Tawfiq-e-Elahi Chowdhury and State Minister for the Ministry of Power, Energy, and Mineral Resources Nasrul Hamid jointly made the announcement following a meeting at the PMO on Monday.
According to the data provided by the Bangladesh Power Development Board (BPDB), about 51.49% of the country's electricity comes from gas, while 18.90% comes from furnace oil, 14.98% from coal, 0.56% from hydro sources, 0.37% from renewables, and 10% is imported.
Addressing the media, Energy Advisor to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina Tawfiq-e-Elahi Chowdhury, said, "The moves come aiming to reduce the government's expenditure in power generation. Plants using diesel to produce electricity will suspend operations from today (18 July).
"This will create a shortage of 1,000-1,500MW of electricity. Area-wise load-shedding will be in place for 1-2 hours every day."
Comparing the current crisis with a "war-like situation" he said, "Shops will have to close down at 8pm.
"Stern action will be taken against those defying these directives. Besides, mosques and other religious places have been asked not to use air conditioners except for during prayer times. Government office hours will be shortened and meetings will be held online."
Echoing the same, State Minister for the Ministry of Power, Energy, and Mineral Resources Nasrul Hamid, said, "Customers will be notified in advance about the load shedding schedule. Steps will be taken so that vehicles use less fuel.
"These measures, forced by the Russia-Ukraine War, are not long-term. We have to be cost-effective. Industries and businesses are priorities when it comes to electricity supply. The decisions will come into effect from tomorrow."
Dhaka, along with the rest of the country, is now bracing for more frequent power cuts. Power generation has decreased by an average of 2,000MW per day.
Most of the gas-fired power plants have to be shut down, while private power plants are also on the brink due to rising global oil prices.
The situation is even bleaker outside the capital. The most affected districts are in Mymensingh division, while load shedding has also increased in Chattogram, Sylhet, Rangpur, Thakurgaon, Rajshahi, Gaibandha, Lalmonirhat and Dinajpur, Habiganj, Moulvibazar, Sunamganj, Noakhali, Feni and Chandpur.
Power disruptions are not rare in countries around the world that have all been hit by the gas crisis following the Russia-Ukraine war. Most are turning to proper load management.
Energy experts said a proper and planned load management of the current energy supply could lessen the suffering of the people. Proper load management is the only way to deal with the current gas and power supply cuts as no other visible initiatives are being taken.
Gas prices in Europe and Asia surged more than 60% in the weeks since an important liquified natural gas facility in Texas temporarily shut down. Gas prices have soared since the start of last year, jumping as high as 700% in Europe.
Germany said the gas shortfalls could trigger a Lehman Brothers-like collapse, as Europe's economic powerhouse faces the unprecedented prospect of businesses and consumers running out of power, Bloomberg reported.
The main Nord Stream pipeline that carries Russian gas to Germany is due to shut down on July 11 for ten days of maintenance, and there is a growing fear that Moscow may not reopen it.
Bangladesh Power Development Board (BPDB) said there was a maximum of 1,400MW load shedding at 9pm on Monday in different parts of the country.
Officials at Petrobangla said that the only remedy is meeting demand when fuel price falls in the global market.