Prime minister’s energy adviser Tawfiq-e-Elahi Chowdhury, the new rates of retail power prices, to go into effect from next month, will ‘hardly affect’ living standards of the people.
State Minister for Power, Energy and Mineral Resources Nasrul Hamid also does not think the prices have been raised ‘too much’, reports bdnews24.com.
“I believe the hike is insignificant and will not affect living standards of people. The BERC itself has raised the price; we had no influence on the decision,” Tawfiq-e-Elahi said at the closing event of a two-day workshop for sector leaders at the Bidyut Bhaban in Dhaka on Friday.
The Bangladesh Energy Regulatory Commission or BERC announced on Thursday that price of each unit, measured at kilowatt-hours, has been raised by Tk 0.35, marking a 5.3 percent increase.
The ministry had asked the BERC to raise prices of each unit by 12 to 15 percent, State Minister Hamid said. “Now it will not be more than 5 percent. I believe it’s tolerable.”
As per new rates, household users will be charged Tk 15 more for using electricity up to 75 units, Tk 48 for up to 150 units, Tk 90 for up to 250 units, Tk 196 for up to 450 units and for using up to 1000 units they will have to pay Tk 604 more than the present rate.
The move has been criticised by several political parties with the left politicians calling an eight-hour countrywide shutdown for Nov 30.
Rights group the Consumers Association of Bangladesh or CAB said after the announcement that they had argued against it during the BERC’s public hearing and even proposed a drop.
CAB’s Energy Affairs Adviser M Shamsul Alam described the public hearing as a ‘farce’.
This is the eighth time during the Awami League administration’s two terms since 2009 that the retail power prices have been hiked, bdnews24.com added.