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Bangladesh transmission sector undergoing reform for private sector opportunity

Bangladesh transmission sector undergoing reform for private sector opportunity

Bangladesh is likely to enact a new law, named Electricity Bill, 2013, this year, replacing the century-old Electricity Act of 1910 in order to strengthen the power sector.

The Power Cell, the government’s policy wing for the sector, is currently working on the proposed Electricity Bill, 2013. The new law would focus on decentralisation of the power sector without triggering the earlier-adopted policy-led reforms.

The draft law would include the provision of a single transmission entity, which would buy power from public and private sector power producers and sell it to distribution utilities. Presently, the state-run Bangladesh Power Development Board (BPDB) is the sole buyer of electricity from private generating companies, although the Electricity Act of 1910 does not provide for it. Moreover, BPDB also generates electricity and provides it to distribution utilities. However, the new law would allow the private companies to enter into the power trade segment, power generation, captive generation and trans-border power trade.

The draft Bill would also provide a provision to create an authority to oversee the functioning of power utilities in accordance with the law.

The draft also proposes the creation of another separate entity named Independent System Operator, which would replace the existing National Load Despatch Centre, jointly run by BPDB and Power Grid Company of Bangladesh (PGCB), and control the power generation and distribution segments.

There is a provision in the draft, which allows aggrieved power consumers to challenge electric metre-based billing by power utilities and take the issue to an independent third party like Bangladesh Energy Regulatory Commission. The proposed law also has provisions for addressing issues such as theft of power, etc.

The Power Cell needs to submit the draft law to the law ministry before it is introduced in Parliament for approval.

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