# Access to electricity increases to 100pc now from 14pc in 1991
# Bangladesh to attain status of a developing country
# Per-capita electricity consumption reaches 560kwh
Bangladesh, once an energy-hungry nation, now provides 100 percent electricity coverage as the present government has installed 150 power plants having a combined production capacity of 25,514megawatt (MW).
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina will declare Bangladesh on Monday as a country of providing 100 percent electricity coverage while inaugurating the 1320MW Payra Thermal Power Plant in Patuakhali.
After the declaration, Bangladesh will be the first country of South Asia to provide 100 percent electricity coverage.
State Minister for Power and Energy Nasrul Hamid told the Daily Sun that the electricity generation has increased fivefold to 25,514MW in the last thirteen years.
Besides this, 33 more power plants having a combined capacity of 13,219MW are under construction, he added.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s courage to make the power sector ‘a driving force’ of the country’s economy has made it possible.
The capacity of the country’s electricity generation was only 300MW during its independence. It has now increased to 25,514MW, Nasrul Hamid said.
Apart from Payra power plant, mega power projects like Rampal, Matarbari and Rooppur will make Bangladesh more reliant on electricity.
With the achievement of the 100 percent electricity coverage, Bangladesh has attained the status of a developing nation from being a so-called “basket case”, the state minister mentioned.
The country’s per-capita income increased to $2591 in 2021. It was only $94.4 in 1972 just after the country’s independence, he said, adding that the capacity of electricity generation was then only 300MW.
Moreover, per-capita electricity consumption has increased to 560 kilowatt hour (kwh) now from 220kwh in 2009.
Bangladesh’s gross domestic product (GDP) grew 6.94 per cent in the 2020-21 fiscal year, which is the second largest in South Asia, Hamid also said.
“The increased capacity of electricity will grow per-capita income to $4,096 and lift the country to an upper middle-income one by 2031,” he mentioned.
With the current growth trajectory, the Bangladesh economy is poised to become almost $800 billion by 2030 which is now $416 billion, according to the state minister.
The per-capita income will reach around $4,000 by 2030, he further said.
“Access to electricity increased from 14 percent in 1991 to 100 percent today (Monday) due to the effective measures taken by the government,” Hamid said.
Bangladesh will maintain a steady growth of at least 4.8 percent on an average till 2050. Besides, Bangladesh is the second best nation in GDP growth as per the World Bank data, he mentioned.
Power Division Secretary Md Habibur Rahman told the Daily Sun that Bangladesh has achieved 100 percent electricity coverage as a single country in South Asia.
“We have also achieved electricity coverage in remote Swandip island in Chattogram, Rangabali in Patuakhali and Kutubdia island in Cox’s Bazar. This brings our dream to reality,” he said.
The 100 percent electricity coverage has ensured the country’s sustainable economic growth despite the coronavirus pandemic, Power Cell Director General Mohammed Hossain told the Daily Sun.
“One percentage of the GDP growth will require 1.5 percentage of electricity growth. Despitethe fact that the Covid-19 pandemic hit our economy, the growth will be 6.94 percent meaning that 8-10 percent of electricity generation growth accelerate our GDP growth,” he added.
In 2009, the country’s power supply situation was vulnerable as only 27 percent of the population was covered in rural areas with 3800MW of electricity production,” Bangladesh Rural Electrification Board (BREB) Chairman Md Selim Uddin told the Daily Sun.
Then, only 7.4 million people under rural areas came under the electricity coverage, he said.
“But, currently a number of 25.6 million rural people are under the electricity coverage. This has been possible under the leadership of Sheikh Hasina in the last 12 years,” said Selim Uddin, who also served as deputy commissioner in Bhola and additional secretary in Power Division.
He said the supply of electricity has made the rural economy vibrant.
Selim further said that BREB subscribers have now become outsourcing clients for the ICT sector due to the electricity coverage in remote areas.
He said most of small and medium industrial units are being operated under BREB’s power coverage across the country.
Mustafa K. Mujeri, executive director of the Institute for Inclusive Finance and Development (InM), said 100 percent electricity coverage is a notable event of the country.
“The supply of uninterrupted electricity will gear up the country’s economy as the entrepreneurs will meet their grid electricity demand at low cost,” he said.
“It will also reduce production cost in garment industry and ICT, and ease people’s life,” Mujeri said.
The economist, who also served as director general of Bangladesh Institute of Development Studies (BIDS), however, said the quality and uninterrupted supply of electricity still remains a key challenge of the government.
He said the consumers still face disruption of electricity supply even though they are under full coverage.
According to him, in the 2010s, the government adopted a phased approach to power generation starting with an immediate (6-12 months) plan to generate electricity through liquid fuel based Rental/Quick Rental power plants, followed by a short term (18-24 months) option of liquid fuel-based peaking plants.
“During that period, such an approach was probably needed since the power situation would have been much worse if no new electricity could be added.”
“In the backdrop of massive electricity shortages and worsening load shedding across the country, the government adopted the short-term strategy of generating electricity through rental power plants,” he remembered.
Dr Nazneen Ahmed, the country economist at the UNDP, said 100 percent electricity coverage is a momentous event for Bangladesh as agricultural sector, industries and overall economic growth depend on the electricity.
“But the government needs to ensure a reliable and quality supply of electricity with proper installation of distribution and transmission lines,” she added.