PDB losses swells to Tk 41,000 crore


Special Correspondent :
The Power Development Board (PDB) has incurred Tk 41,272 crore losses during the last ten years (from fiscal year 2007-08 to fiscal year 2016-17), posing a significant risk to the national coffer as the government continues to provide bailout funds to maintain its operation.
Operational inefficiency and power purchase from costly rental and quick rental power plants have been blamed for the PDB's mounting losses.
"The organisation is incurring heavy losses every year mainly due to selling of electricity at lower rates than the purchasing cost," a senior PDB official told The New Nation yesterday on condition of anonymity.
He also said that system loss and power theft have also contributed to the losses of the organisation.
"The compulsion to buy high cost power from rental and quick rental power plants has pushed PDB in perilous state. To maintain operation, it now depends on the government's bailouts. As losses piled up, we urged the government to turning the amount as equity," he added.
He further said the government has so far provided subsidy and loans to recoup the losses of the state-owned firm. We also sought the government approval to rationalize the power tariff to reduce the losses.
BPDB last year sought a 14.50 per cent hike in retail power tariff to recover its losses its It placed a proposal to Bangladesh Energy Regulatory Commission (BERC), seeking to raise the average retail power tariff by Tk 0.98 to Tk 7.71 per unit from the existing Tk 6.73.
"PDB is making huge losses every year due to purchasing electricity from expensive power plants. It can reduce a significant portion of the loss if it goes for running state-run gas-fired power plants instead of buying electricity rental and quick rental power plants," Prof Shamsul Alam, Energy Adviser of the Consumers' Association of Bangladesh (CAB) told The New Nation yesterday.
He said the persistent loss has eroded financial condition of the ogranisation forcing the government inject funds as bailout. Such a government policy is also causing leakage to the national coffer.   
Finance Ministry officials said, PDB will be provided loan with low interest to mitigate its losses incurred from selling electricity at lower rates than the purchasing cost.
PDB Chairman Khaled Mahmood could not reached for comments despite several attempts on his cell phone.