May 24, 2013 | 07:43 AM (BD Time)
24 May, 2013 Friday
Power users are victims of corruption
MANY households in the city and elsewhere in the country are reported experiencing three to four folds rise in monthly electricity bills since March. The government has raised the price of electricity three times in the last five months to reduce the subsidy burden in the power sector. It has also withdrawn the lowest slab benefit used to be enjoyed by all residential users. Sudden rise in electricity bills at the highest ever rate has pushed most the households in great hardships as they are already hit by price spiral of essentials.
PDB has become one of the most loss-making state-owned enterprises (SOEs) as the amount of financial losses incurred by it has almost doubled in a year. It incurred a loss of Tk. 8431.12 crore in FY 2011-12 as against Tk. 4587.01 crore in FY 2010-11. Observers believe that the sudden sharp rise of the electricity bills is due to dishonest intention of distributing the burden of corruption among helpless consumers by corrupt elements in power distribution companies. Dishonest meter readers allegedly manipulate domestic electric meters and by the way reduce the bill of bulk consumers. Sometimes they facilitate illegal connection to bulk users.
The resultant lost electricity through illegal ventures of the meter readers is then distributed amongst other consumers as additional burden. It is true; withdrawal of the lowest slab facility has a significant effect on the rise of electricity bills. The withdrawal of lowest slab facility and three times increase of the prices of electricity are more to satisfy the IMF rather than adjust the subsidy. On the other side, induction of oil-based power plants has proved to be a big failure pushing the unit prices further up. The government is trying to go with donors prescriptions putting consumers at bay.
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