The latest hike in power tariff has come as a major blow to general consumers who are going through high pressure from their increasing living costs.
Consumers, especially lower-and middle-income groups, expressed concerns over the ‘abnormal’ rise in power prices and said it will put negative impacts on their living.
Experts fear that the fresh power tariff hike will put more pressure on the consumers, as it has come in the run-up to the increase in gas prices in phases.
Sector insiders said the rise in power tariff will hit small entrepreneurs hard when they are struggling to boost their business.
It will raise production costs, which is challenging for small entrepreneurs, they added.
As per new rate, retail users will have to pay Tk 5.3pc more every month on usage. The power tariff at small industries has been increased to Tk 8.20 a unit, 7.10 percent up from Tk 7.66.
A 100-unit power consumer will have to pay Tk 31 more every month while the additional charge will be Tk 47 for a 150-unit user, Tk 98 for a 250-unit user, Tk 137 for a 350-unit user and Tk 196 for a 450-unit user.
Besides, a 1000-unit user will have to count around Tk 700 for the fresh hike in power tariff.
The government on Thursday raised the power tariff at the retail level on an average by 5.3 percent or Tk 0.35 per unit, which will come into effect from December.
Per unit power prices have been raised to Tk 5.45 (6.03 percent up from Tk 5.14) for using 76-200 units a month, Tk 5.70 (5.96 percent up from Tk 5.36) for consuming 201-300 units, Tk 6.02 (6.93 percent up from Tk 5.63) for consuming 301-400 units, Tk 9.30 (6.90 percent up from Tk 8.70) for consuming 401-600 units and Tk 10.7 (7.21 percent up from Tk 9.98) for consuming 601 or more units a month.
“The power hike move came when prices of daily commodities are on the increase.
The fresh power hike is really a major blow to us. We don’t know how we manage the increasing cost of living,” said Adil Rahman, a private jobholder.
“The government is busy hiking power and energy prices. But during public hearing, the Consumer Association of Bangladesh explained how to reduce power prices,” said Taufiq Elahi, a resident of Merul Badda of the capital.
The government should take under consideration CAB proposals for reducing power prices ahead of the national election, he added.
Bangladesh Energy Regulatory Commission (BERC) Chairman Monwar Islam said they have decided to hike retail prices of electricity, considering a rise in operation costs of power distribution companies.
Replying to a question during the announcement on the power price hike, BERC member Mizanur Rahman said power distribution companies will be able to mobilise around Tk1,700 crore from the fresh hike this fiscal year.
Owner of the KPC Paper Industries Ltd Kazi Sazedur Rahman told the daily sun that the power price hike will definitely put negative impacts on consumers, especially on small entrepreneurs.
“Entrepreneurs will have to face tough competition with foreign products as their production costs are on the rise,” he said.
Speaking at a programme in the capital on Friday, Tawfiq-e-Elahi Chowdhury, energy adviser to the prime minister, said the power tariff hike is marginal and will barely have an effect on the people’s daily life.
In another development, the BERC on February 23 raised gas prices for all consumers by 22.7 percent and decided to implement the hike in two phases from March 1 and June 1 respectively.
In the first phase, household consumers paid Tk 750 for a single burner while Tk 800 for a double burner a month.
Now, households are now paying Tk 900 for a single burner and Tk 950 for a double burner.