Dhaka Power Distribution Company (DPDC) is one of the six electricity distribution companies of the country that supplies electricity in a part of the capital and neighbouring Narayanganj.
In a recent interview with The Business Standard, its Managing Director Engineer Bikash Dewan talked about his experiences and challenges in supplying electricity to sensitive areas like the Secretariat and the High Court on one side and densely populated Old Dhaka on the other.
He opined that along with distributors, consumers can also play a vital role in getting uninterrupted electricity.
As a power distribution company, what is DPDC's main challenge in supplying electricity to Dhaka South City Corporation and Narayanganj?
All the distribution companies face some uniform challenges in their distribution areas. But our challenges are different and tougher than others as we are the distributor in a critical area where the country's major administrative offices are situated.
There are two types of consumers in the DPDC's distribution areas – one is very sensitive consumers, and the other is risky users in Old Dhaka.
In our areas, we have the president's residence, the Supreme Court, the Secretariat, Dhaka Medical College and Hospital, the University of Dhaka, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University, etc. Ensuring an uninterrupted electricity supply to these VIP areas is a big challenge.
The second challenge is supplying power to Old Dhaka due to unplanned, messy, and dense housing. People construct buildings, leaving no space from electric poles.
Residential buildings and electricity supply lines lay adjacent to each other. People may get electrocuted when they stretch their hands through windows. As a supplier, we always remain worried and cautious to keep the system safe out there.
The country has surplus capacity on the electricity generation side. Despite that, why do consumers in the capital still experience load shedding?
There is no relation between load shedding and generation capacity. Rather, this happens due to some outdated infrastructures in our distribution areas.
Outdated substations and distribution cables prevent us from delivering uninterrupted power to customers. Sometimes supply stops from transformers and due to circuit breakers' damage caused by an overload in the distribution system.
Besides, supply is often disrupted when our overhead cables sustain damage in other ways. For example, a rod falls from under-construction buildings, and due to banners and placards of different agencies.
How does DPDC respond to restore supply after disruptions and power outages?
We have dedicated manpower in 36 network operation and support service control rooms in our distribution areas. They work round the clock in three shifts.
If power supply to an area is disrupted due to the aforementioned reasons, our patrol team goes there and restores it as soon as they are informed.
Even in the lockdown, when most of the sectors were closed, our manpower was on standby to ensure an uninterrupted power supply to the city dwellers. DPDC has another group of manpower that also works round the clock to fix any cable damage in the distribution line.
Is there any long-term plan to prevent such incidents and provide quality electricity?
Yes, of course. We have mid-term and long-term plans along with short-term actions to improve the quality of service.
As part of our mid-term plan, we already conducted a detailed survey of Dhaka city. At the same time, under the long-term plan, we aim to underground overhead cables. A pilot programme will start soon in the capital's Dhanmondi with the Chinese government's funding.
Apart from these, we also emphasise monitoring and supervision. For that, we are upgrading to ICT-based supervision. We are also working on making a smart grid and already took a pilot project in Dhanmondi with French investment.
If we can implement these projects, electricity supply in Bangladesh will be the same as that in other developed countries.
As a power distributor, what type of behaviour do you expect from your consumers?
Consumers have a vital role to play in getting quality and uninterrupted electricity supply. We always request our consumers not to exceed the sanctioned load.
If they want to use more electricity than the sanctioned load, they should inform us so that we can improve the load capacity. Otherwise, transformers will fail due to overload.
We also encourage them not to use illegal lines to avoid the tragedy that happened in Narayanganj. In addition, DPDC also suggests its consumers replace old cables at home or install quality electrical equipment when they build new houses.
Thank you for your time.
Thank you too.