Report on Electricity in Bangladesh

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Electricity, which is an essential requirement for economic and social development, plays an important role in the development of the Bangladesh economy. It is a main component in the efforts to reduce poverty, which is the overarching goal of the government. In Bangladesh, the power sector exists within a context of a low level of development and weak public sector institutions.

This study is intended to highlight the importance of active end-user participation in the decision-making process of the electricity supply industry. To achieve this goal, the study examined the economic impact of the quality of electricity delivered to the industrial installations in Bangladesh, including power interruptions, voltage fluctuations, and supply harmonics. The assessment consists of reviewing existing guidelines on power quality, analyzing poor power quality and its economic impact on a sample of industrial consumers, estimating self-generation costs and environmental impacts, and providing recommendations for power quality improvements.

The investigation was carried out using a detailed nationwide survey sample of industries consisting of 208 installations covering main categories of industries contributing to the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) growth. The survey was based on a structured questionnaire administered during August through October of 2002. The study data used are based on responses to the questionnaire concerning fiscal year (FY) 2001.

Industrial sector losses attributable to unplanned electric power interruptions average 0.83 US$/kWh, while they are only 0.34 US$/kWh for planned outages. Thus the unplanned interruptions result in economic losses that are nearly two and one-half times those of planned interruptions. Further, voltage fluctuations can cause major problems in certain industries, such as tobacco manufacturing and chemicals, while others, such as the wood and cork industry, are completely unaffected.

The study found that the frequency of unplanned interruptions during the year averages nearly one interruption per day lasting about 2 hours. In contrast, the number of planned interruptions is about one in two months but with each lasting about 7 hours. Therefore, 94% of the total unsaved energy resulting from interruptions is due to unplanned outages, but only 6% is attributable to planned outages. Overall, nearly 14% of the industrial sector electricity demand cannot be met by the utilities due to planned and unplanned interruptions.

Further, these outages result in a substantial economic loss in the industrial sector amounting to US$ 778 million a year. This translates into 11.54% of the industrial sector GDP or 1.72% of the national GDP in 2000-01.

On average, 64% of the industrial installations in the country have standby generation facilities. In almost all industrial installations surveyed, these standby facilities are diesel-oil fired. Assuming that the standby generation facilities are in operation throughout the grid supply outages, the additional financial burden on the industrial sector is estimated to be about US$ 4.5 million a year.

Although 95% of the participating industries felt that they over-pay for the quality of power they receive, 50% of the sample still would be willing to pay even more for higher power quality. Also, more than half of the sampled industries would have invested more in electricity-dependant industries if the quality of power supply were better.

The study also examined the prevailing regulations (Electricity Act 1910) as well as the recently enacted Electricity Regulatory Commission Act, 2003, with regard to power quality. Under the Electricity Act of 1910 the voltage levels and the system frequency are expected to be maintained within certain limits, and the Regulatory Commission under the Electricity Regulatory Commission Act is empowered to formulate codes and standards on the quality of service. These codes and standards, which have been drafted, will be reviewed and adopted by the Electricity Regulatory Commission for technical regulation.

The relatively high cost of unplanned outages in comparison to planned outages requires special attention to reduce the frequency and duration of unplanned outages and to convert such outages to planned outages whenever possible. The problem of voltage fluctuations, which cause a significant adverse impact on certain types of industries, needs to be seriously addressed. The standby generation level in the industrial sector is significant and is likely to increase in the future unless necessary measures are taken to reduce grid supply outages. Further, these future standby generation facilities are likely to be based on natural gas.



The main energy resources of the country are commercial energy resources and noncommercial resources (biomass). The commercial energy resources include indigenous natural gas, hydroelectricity, imported crude oil and other petroleum products and the noncommercial resources are mainly three types of noncommercial resources (biomass) such as trees (e.g. wood fuel), field crops (agricultural resources) and livestock (animal dung).

Per capita consumption of energy and generation of electricity are about 220 KGOE/year and 130 kWh/year, respectively. More than 65% of the total final energy consumption is met by different type of biomass fuels. Access to electricity is one of the lowest in the world, coverage today stands at around 20% of the total population.

Natural gas is only significant source of commercial energy. According to Petrobangla, the responsible organization of the government for exploration and production of minerals estimates that the net recoverable deposit (proven) of natural gas is about 15.0 TCF. However, there is much uncertainty and debate on the natural gas reserve of Bangladesh. However, the US Geological Survey estimated that Bangladesh has an additional 32.1 TCF in undiscovered reserves.

The demand of gas is increasing day by day in the country. The production of gas in the year 2002 was about 385 billion cubic feet (BCF). Natural gas accounts for about 65% of the total commercial energy consumption and for about 85% of the total electricity generation.

The Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) has been started to power vehicles in the capital city of Bangladesh to a limited extent and this utilization will be extended extensively to power vehicles across the country. The government has liberalized and opened the sector for private participation to increase the utilization of CNG commercially in all types of road and riverine transports replacing petrol and diesel.

The consumption of coal in the country is very small. The main utilization of coal is in the brick field. It accounts only 1.3% of the total final energy consumption. The estimated recoverable reserves is about about 724 million tons.

Coal production in the country started with the opening of Barapukuria Coal Mine at Dinajpur District. Production target from this deposit is one million tons per annum commencing from 2004-2005. A major portion about 70% of this production will be utilized to operate a coal-based power plant of capacity 250 MW in the western zone and the reaming will be utilized for brick fields and other domestic uses.

Bangladesh has no significant oil reserve. A small oil reserve of 56.9 million barrels (proven) was discovered. It produces 7000 barrels per day of which 6000 bbl/d is crude oil. Bangladesh solely depends on import crude and refined petroleum fuels. In the year 2002, the country imported 83,000 bbl/d. Eastern Refinery Ltd. Is only the petroleum refinery in Bangladesh which annual production capacity is 1.5 million tonnes.

The terrain of the country being flat, there is no realistic prospect for building additional hydro units.

Estimated energy reserves


Solid Liquid Gas Uranium Hydro Total
Total amount in place N/A 0.25 11.66 N/A 0.48 12.39
(1) This total represents essentially recoverable reserves.
Source: National Energy Policy (Revised Draft, 2004), Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources, Government of Bangladesh

The limited indigenous energy resources of the country are insufficient to meet the national demand targets, which have been affecting the national development efforts over the last decades. The country needs a high growth of energy supply, especially electricity for its socioeconomic development.

1980 1990 2001 2002 2003 1980



Energy consumption
– Total(1) 0.17 0.33 0.5306 0.5823 0.60877 5.9
– Solids(2) 0.007 0.017 0.015 0.016 0.016 3.79
– Liquids 0.07 0.08 0.173 0.176 0.179 4.31
– Gases 0.05 0.15 0.35 0.38 0.40 9.8
– Primary electricity(3) 0.01 0.01 0.00352 0.00356 0.003 -5.27
Energy production
– Total 0.10 0.23 0.369 0.3945 0.4599 7.11
– Solids
– Liquids
– Gases 0.05 0.15 0.35 0.38 0.40 9.83
– Primary electricity(3) 0.01 0.01 0.00352 0.00356 0.003 -5.27
Net import (Import – Export)
– Total 0.07 0.10 0.1616 0.1878 0.14887 2.98
– Solids 0.007 0.017 0.015 0.016 0.016 -2.61
– Liquids 0.07 0.08 0.13 0.13 3.22
– Gases
(1) Energy consumption = Primary energy consumption + Net import (Import – Export) of secondary energy.
(2) Solid fuels include coal and lignite
(3) Primary electricity = Hydro + Geothermal + Nuclear + Wind.
(*) Energy values are in Exajoule except where indicated.
Source: IAEA Energy and Economic Database; Energy Information Administration, International Energy Annual 2003


Energy and Resources—Sources and Definitions

All energy consumption values presented here are calculated and reported by the International Energy Agency (IEA) based on an energy balance methodology using metric tons of oil equivalent(toe), a common unit based on the calorific content of energy commodities. One toe is defined as 10 Exp. 7 kilocalories, 41.868 gigajoules, or 11,628 GWh. This amount of energy is roughly equal to the amount of energy contained in a ton of crude oil.

Total Energy Production is the total amount of primary energy produced in the year specified by all sources, i.e. hard coal, lignite/brown coal, peat, crude oil, natural gas liquids (NGLs), natural gas, combustible renewables and wastes, nuclear, hydro, geothermal, solar and the heat from heat pumps that is extracted from the ambient environment. Production is calculated after removal of impurities (e.g. sulphur from natural gas).

Energy Imports and Energy Exports present the energy equivalent amounts of electricity, coal, natural gas, oil and oil products that have crossed the national territorial boundaries of a country, whether or not customs clearance has taken place. Crude oil, natural gas, and natural gas liquids are reported as coming from the country of origin; refinery feedstocks and oil products are reported as coming from the country of last consignment. Coal or oil in transit is not included. If electricity is “wheeled” or transited through a country, the amount is shown as both an import and an export.

Total Energy Consumption is the total amount of primary energy consumed from all sources in the year specified. Primary energy includes losses from transportation, friction, heat loss and other inefficiencies. Specifically, consumption equals indigenous production plus imports and stock changes, minus exports and international marine bunkers. The International Energy Agency (IEA) calls this value Total Primary Energy Supply (TPES).

Electricity Consumption is the amount of electricity consumed by each country or region in the year specified. This variable includes electricity from all energy sources. This variable accounts for the amount of electricity consumed by the end user, meaning that losses due to transportation, friction, heat loss and other inefficiencies are not included in this figure.

Energy Consumption per capita is the total amount of energy consumed per person, in each country in the year specified. This variable includes energy from all energy sources. The % Change since 1980 shows the percentage change in per capita energy consumption between 1980 and the specified year: in this case, 1997.

Energy Consumption per GDP PPP indicates the amount of energy consumed per unit of income generated by the country’s economy. GDP PPP is a country or region’s gross domestic product (GDP) converted to international dollars using Purchasing Power Parity (PPP) rates, and rescaled to 1995 to give a common reference year. An international dollar has the same purchasing power in a given country as a United States Dollar in the United States. In other words, an international dollar buys an equivalent amount of goods or services in all countries.

Energy Consumption by Source is the total amount of primary energy consumed from the usage of a specified fuel. Primary energy includes losses from transportation, friction, heat loss and other inefficiencies. Specifically, consumption equals indigenous production plus imports and stock changes, minus exports and international marine bunkers. The IEA calls this value Total Primary Energy Supply (TPES).

Fossil Fuels, total is the amount of energy consumed from the use of crude oil and natural gas liquids, coal and coal products, and natural gas.

Natural gas refers to natural gases that occur in underground deposits, whether liquefied or gaseous, consisting mainly of methane. Natural gas includes both non-associated gas originating from fields producing hydrocarbons only in gaseous form, associated gas produced in association with crude oil, and methane recovered from coal mines


Solid Biomass is defined as any plant matter used directly as fuel or converted into other forms before combustion. This category includes wood; vegetal waste such as wood waste and crop waste; animal materials and wastes; sulphite lyes (also known as black liquor, a sludge that contains the lignin digested from wood for paper making); and other solid biomass.

Biogas and liquid biomass. Biogases are derived principally from the anaerobic fermentation of biomass and solid wastes, which are combusted to produce heat and electrical power. Landfill gases and gases from sewage and animal waste facilities are included in this category. Energy from liquid biomass uses liquid derivatives from biomass as a fuel. Ethanol is the main form of liquid biomass produced.

Solar energy is harnessed using two primary methods. Solar-thermal power exploits solar radiation for hot water production and electricity generation by flat plate collectors (mainly of the thermosiphon type, for domestic hot water or for the seasonal heating of swimming pools) or solar thermal-electric plants.

Solar power from photovoltaics involves the conversion of solar energy to electricity in photovoltaic cells. Passive solar energy for the direct heating, cooling and lighting of dwellings or other buildings is not included in this category.

Wind power exploits the kinetic energy of wind in wind turbines to generate electrical power. Tide, wave, oceanpower captures the mechanical energy from tidal motion or wave activity and transforms it into electrical power



The utilities of electric power sector are divided into three major groups according to their services that they provide and these are generation, transmission and distribution. Previously, Bangladesh Power Development Board (BPDB) under the Ministry of Energy And Mineral Resources (MOEMR) was responsible for all activities related to planning, generation, transmission, distribution and marketing of electricity. The MOEMR has overall responsibility for the country’s energy sector, with policy formulation and investment decisions under its control.

The first shift in policy had taken place through the formation of the Rural Electricity Board (REB) in 1977, which was given the mandate to bring the rural areas of the country under electricity supply through the establishment of Consumers’ societies. The second milestone was the formation of the Dhaka Electricity Supply the mid-nineties.

The involvement of the independent power producers in electricity generation is gradually replacing the concept of public sector monopoly in the development on the energy sector of the country and within the MOEMR, the “Power Cell” acts as a single point of contact to facilitate the electricity reform and restructuring process, such as the development of Independent Power Producers (IPPs). For system loss reduction in power sector, the government envisages special measures in the transmission and distribution network and retrofitting of plants with move on improved devices for technical losses and good management through administrative measures. In the meanwhile, a separate corporation, namely the Power Grid Company of Bangladesh Limited was formed to gradually take the responsibility of the electricity transmission network. In spite of several deficiencies and constraints on part of the BPDB (such as dual responsibility of regulation and promotion, administrative tariff in place of economic operation, lack of financing and above all unacceptable system losses) it has been possible to maintain a moderate growth at an annual average rate of 8.5% and the energy generation at an average annual rate of 10.7% over the last three decades.


Considering the growth of the individual end-user sectors the projection of demand for energy should ideally be made. A projection made on this basis can help ensuring proper linkages between the micro and macro projections and hence reflect the demand driven needs for energy on a long-term perspective. On the other hand, a large number of data on individual end-use sectors are required for this purpose. Unfortunately, data of such extent with the desired level of accuracy is not available. Therefore, in the National Energy Policy the estimation of future demands for energy and electricity (up to the year 2020) was made by considering the energy- coefficient, i.e. the ratio of the energy growth rate and the growth rate of the economy. Projections on electricity demand have been made in the National Energy Policy in two scenarios. The low scenario is shown in Table, while the reference scenario is given in Table It is interesting to note that, even according to the Reference Scenario, the per capita generation of electricity in the year 2015 will reach a level which is lower than the present consumption in the neighbouring countries like India and Pakistan.

Table (a) Projected Demand for Electricity (Low Economic Growth Scenario)

2000 2005 2010 2015 2020
Population (million) 130 141 153 165 177
Total GWh 18 315 26 063 30 994 46 491 61 988
Per Capita Kwh 141 185 203 282 351
Peak Load (MW) 3668 5220 6100 89958 11794

Table (b) Projected Demand for Electricity (Reference Economic Growth Scenario)

2000 2005 2010 2015 2020
Population (million) 130 141 153 165 177
Total GWH 18971 28060 39750 59858 92402
Per Capita Kwh 146 199 260 363 523
Peak Load (MW) 3799 5620 7823 11581 17580


Per capita generation of electricity in Bangladesh is now about 140 kWh. In view of the prevailing low consumption base in Bangladesh, a high growth rate in energy and electricity is indispensable for facilitating smooth transition from subsistence level of economy to the development threshold. The average annual growth in peak demand of the national grid over the last three decades was about 8.5%. It is believed that the growth is still suppressed by shortage of supply. Desired growth in generation is hampered, in addition to financial constraints, by inadequacy in supply of primary energy resources. The strategy adopted during the energy crisis was to reduce dependence on imported oil through its replacement by indigenous fuel. Thus, almost all plants built after the energy crises were based on natural gas as fuel. Preference for this fuel is further motivated by its comparatively low tariff for power generation.

Its continuation, however has adversely influenced evolution of a judicious energy-mix for the country in the following ways:

  1. Allocation of gas to other value added end-use sectors was reduced;
  2. Technologies having lower efficiency often became economic, thereby reducing overall efficiency of the system;
  3. Location of power plants often failed to take into consideration the need for equitable distribution of energy; and
  4. Growth of the power sector was forced to be linked with the programmes of development of a particular fuel type.


The average annual growth in peak demand of the national grid over the last three decades was about 8.5%. Desired growth in generation is hampered, in addition to financial constraints, by inadequacy in supply of primary energy resources. Presently exploited indigenous primary energy resources of Bangladesh for power generation include natural gas and hydro electricity. The lone viable hydro electricity site is being exploited with an annual generation in the range from 800 to 1000 GWh per year. Natural gas now accounts for about 90% of the total generation. A coal deposit is being developed, which will attain an annual output of 1 million ton at its peak. The allocation of natural gas for different end-use sectors, including power production has been indicated in the National Energy policy. The role of indigenous fuel in power generation is given in Table This shows that after the year 2000, the gap between demand for electricity and the generation with indigenous fuels will rise sharply.

Table (c) Generation of Electricity with indigenous fuels (in GWh)

Fuel type 2000 2005 2010 2015 2020
Natural Gas 15000 15000 15000 15000 15000
Coal 1030 3090 5150 6180 7210
Hydro 800 800 800 800 800
Total GWH 17030 19090 21450 22480 23510
Deficit (Low Scenario) 1285 6970 9544 24011 38478
Deficit (High Scenario) 1941 8970 18300 35847 68892


In the National Energy Policy, the options of imported fuel for power generation are limited to oil, coal and nuclear.


The strategy adopted during the energy crisis was to reduce dependence on imported oil through its replacement by indigenous fuel. Thus, almost all plants built after the energy crisis was based on natural gas as fuel. Preference for this fuel is further motivated by its comparatively low price for power generation. Presently, indigenous energy sources (e.g. natural gas, hydro) are used for the generation of electricity in the East Zone. The East Zone contains nearly all of the country’s electric generating capacity while imported petroleum fuels (e.g. Furnace Oil (FO), Light Diesel Oil (LDO), Superior Kerosene Oil (SKO), High Speed Diesel (HSD)) are used to generate electricity in some areas of the West Zone. As a result, the energy demand is strongly suppressed in the West Zone which only accounting 22% in present days. In order to minimize the effect of fuel cost on power generation, electricity generated in the East Zone is transferred to the West Zone via East West Electrical Inter-Connector established in 1982. The transfer capacity of the Inter-Connector has almost reached its limit (450 MW). Gas is already available at Baghabari – Serajganj in the West Zone through Jamuna Bridge and there is a plan to extend gas network all over the West Zone. It is logical and economical to install gas-based power plants in the West Zone.


The responsible authorities for generation of electricity are: Bangladesh Power Development Board, Rural Power Company and Independent Power Producers (IPPs). The total installed capacity of the power plants was about 4680 MW including 1260 MW of the IPPs. In the fiscal year of 2002-2003 the generating capacity was 4230 MW. The total installed capacity including IPP consists of the following types of plants (according to FY 2002-2003): Hydro: 230 MW (4.91%); Steam Turbine: 2228 MW (47.61%); Gas Turbine: 994 MW (19.60%); Combined Cycle: 990 MW (5%); Diesel: 238 MW (6.91%). The peak generation had increased to 3428 MW compared to previous year’s 3218 MW. The total net generation in that year was about 18422.07 GWh, which was 5.22% more than that of the previous year. The share of the IPPs in total net generation was about 6298.81 GWh, which was increased about 67% than that of the previous year. Total electricity generation by types of fuels was as follows: hydro (4.52%), natural gas (89.39%), petroleum fuels (5.14%) and diesel (0.95%). Among the total generation 87% was in the East zone. Low cost electricity generated in the east zone is transferred to the west through the 230 kV East-West Inter-connector. The energy transferred in FY 2002-2003 was 2170.40 GWh, which was a decrease of 3.5% over the previous year.


Bangladesh Power Development Board (BPDB), Dhaka Electric Supply Authority (DESA), Rural Electrification Board (REB), Power Grid Company of Bangladesh (PGCB) are responsible for transmission and distribution. The total length of 230 kV and 132 kV transmission lines were 682.5 route km (1365 circuit km) and 2635 route km (4611 circuit km), respectively. The total length of distribution lines comprising 33 kV, 11 kV and 11/.4 kV lines stood at 43059 km at the end of 2002-2003 which was 1404 km higher than the previous year. During the last twenty-five years the overall transmission and distribution losses that includes the technical and non-technical loses varied between 27.2% and 40.2% of the net generation. A high proportion of losses at T&D level include non-technical losses (e.g. theft, pilferage etc.). In the year 2001, the transmission and distribution (T&D) loss in the country was 30.97% of the net generation. In the FY 2002-2003, in BPDB system the T & D loss was about 11.35%, which was 12.62% in the previous year.


1980 1990 2001 2002 2003 1980



Electricity production (TW.h)
– Total(1) 2.65 7.73 15.56 16.25 18.42 25.70
– Thermal 2.07 7.17 14.48 15.28 17.59 31.90
– Hydro 0.58 0.88 1.08 0.97 0.83 3.40
– Nuclear
– Geothermal
Capacity of electrical plants (GWe)
– Total 0.99 2.35 3.711 4.005 4.230 15.2
– Thermal 0.91 2.29 3.48 3.775 4.000 15.74
– Hydro 0.08 0.23 0.23 0.23 0.23 9.4
– Nuclear
– Geothermal
– Wind
(1) Source: IAEA Energy and Economic Database and the Annual Report of Bangladesh Power Development Board, 2003.


Electricity Demand Shares

The total number of consumers at the end of 2002-2003 was 1690451 against 1644755 at the end of 2001-2002. This was about 2.78% increase over the year 2001-2002. The total consumption of electricity was about 16331.56 MkWh in 2002-2003, which was 7% higher than the previous year. The consumption patterns in different end-user categories were as follows: DESA (50.95%), REB (19.43%), domestic (12.21%), industrial and commercial (15.77%), agriculture (0.46%) and others (1.18%).


4.10.1. Conditions of Supply

Voltage Level

The Voltage of supply during steady flow of power to the network of the Entities from Captive Power Plant shall be subject to approval by the Entities, but shall normally be as under:

Plant Surplus Capacity
Voltage Level
Less than 1 MW 0.4 kV/ 11 kV
Over 1 MW to 5MW 11 kV/ 33 kV
Over 5 MW to 10 MW 33 kV
More than 10 MW
33 kV or above

Frequency and Voltage fluctuations

Frequency for power supply will be 50 Hertz. Variation of frequency and voltage shall be in accordance with the Grid Code of Bangladesh. The Captive Power Plant must have arrangements for handling, absorbing and suppressing abnormal fluctuations in respect of voltage and frequency.

Power Factor

The Power Factor of power delivered by the power plant shall normally be 0.8 (Lagging).


Appropriate protections are to be installed by the CPP to protect its own plant as well as the Grid or other voltage level network depending on the Delivery Point and associated equipment of the Utility.

Proper synchronization shall be responsibility of owner of power plant and any damage to the property of the purchaser for improper handling by the CPP will be compensated as per decision of BERC. 3(three) element programmable energy meters having accuracy class 0.2 and time of day (tod) feature will be installed by the owner of the captive power plant at delivery point for measurement of energy. such meter will be jointly tested, calibrated and sealed by the utility and the cpp. separate metering shall be installed for import and export recording.

Control and Communication

Captive Power Plant having capacity exceeding the limit as set by the Government from time to time shall have communication with the Central Load Dispatch Centre (CLDC) and the CPP will follow instruction of the Dispatch Centre. The capacity limit will be set by GOB from time to time.

Banking of Energy

No banking of energy will be permitted during the period of electricity supply to the Utility by the CPP.

Billing Methods

Separate billing can be carried out for Export and Import of energy by the Captive Power Plants. Import of energy may be billed according to the tariff notifications issued by the BERC from time to time.


The utility will generally publish notifications expressing its intention to purchase power from the CPP and may enter into an Agreement observing the guidelines. However, if there is any precedence of such agreement the utility may use that benchmark for negotiation with any interested CPP.

Agreement will be executed between the Entities and owner of the Captive Power Plant for any sale of electricity by them. Agreement for utilizing the network of the Utility will be executed among the owner of the Captive Power Plant and the concerned Utilities.


Any disputes or differences over the provisions of the Policy Guidelines shall be settled by mutual discussions or as per provisions of Bangladesh Energy Regulatory Commission (BERC).

4.10.2. Dhaka Electric Supply Company Limited (DESCO)

System loss

The difference between electricity generated and electricity for which customers are billed. Technical system loss refers to the energy that is lost as heat in electrical equipment and along transmission lines due to resistance as electricity is transferred from one location to another.


The total sale of electricity has been increased by 13.59% over the previous year. The total operating income (sale of electricity and other operating income) is about 7650 million USD. The operating expenses (fuel cost, cost of electricity purchases from IPPs, generating expenses, transmission and distributions expenses and others) is about 6682 million USD. The total operating expenses has increased by 8.42% than the previous year. The operating profit is about 968 million USD.


1980 1990 2001 2002 2003
Energy consumption per capita (GJ/capita) 2 3 3.8 4.1 4.2
Electricity per capita (kW·h/capita) 22.07 44.04 106.08 113.80 122.43
Electricity Production/Energy production (%) 34 40 55
Nuclear/Total electricity (%)
Ratio of external dependency (%)(1) 44 29 25 25 20
Load factor of electricity plants
– Total (%) 31 72 51 72 64.7
– Thermal 26 74 52 74
– Hydro 83 44 41
– Nuclear (Not Applicable)
(1) Net import / Total energy consumption.
Source: IAEA Energy and Economic Databaseand the the Annual Report of Bangladesh Power Development Board, 2003.



Power System an integrated network that interconnects installations for generation, transmission and distribution of electricity. Bangladesh has two distinct geographical zones separated by the Padma-Jamuna river system. Major generation takes place in the east zone that has hydropower facilities and a good number of natural gas fields for providing fuel. The west zone has no such resources and produces power by using thermal fuel. The electricity is generated at 50 hertz and at a nominal voltage of 11 kilovolts (kV) or, in some cases, 15 kV, to be stepped up through transformers to 66 kV, 132 kV or 230 kV for feeding to the grid. The generation and transmission of power in Bangladesh historically remained a monopoly of the power development board (PDB). The PDB grid comprises seven 230 kV lines extending over 419 km, thirty-five 132 kV lines (2,469 km) and one 66 kV line (167 km). The lines are of either single or double circuits.The longest line in the 230 kV category is the 179-km east-west interconnector linking Ghorasal in the east zone and Ishwardi in the west zone. It can transfer up to 450 MW power to the west. In 132 kV category, the longest line is 273 km between Kaptai and Shiddhirganj, both in the east zone. The maximum transmission capacity of this line is 240 MW. The 230 kV lines are connected with the 132 kV lines through 230/132 kV tie-bus transformers. Similarly, the 66 kV line is connected to the 132 kV line through a 132/66 kV transformer. The 132 kV lines are connected to the distribution network through 132/33 kV, and in some cases, 132/11 kV step-down transformers.The total number of grid substations housing the 230/132 kV, 132/66, 33 or 11 kV and 66/33 or 11 kV transformers is 70. The distribution to individual consumers is done through a network of mainly 33/11 kV and 11/0.4 kV lines spread along tens of thousands of kilometres. The responsibility of power distribution is now shared by three public utilities – PDB itself, the Dhaka Electricity Supply Authority (desa) and the rural electrification board (REB). Their market share in the sale of electricity is 38%, 50% and 12%.The generation of electricity in the country falls short of the demand that has been growing at the rate of approximately 10% per annum. At present, the total generation fluctuates between 1800 MW and 2100 MW against a peak demand of 2300 MW, although the installed production capacity is 3150 MW. The power generation is hampered by ageing, derating and forced outages of plants and inadequate fuel supply resulting in low per capita availability of power (95 kilowatt-hour), load shedding to the tune of about 500 MW in a summer day, persistent low voltage profile and frequent power failure in the grid or in a wide area. There is also an inherent nonuniformity in the location of the load centres and generating stations, which, in the event of a fault in a section, restricts the scope of splitting the grid into a number of islands that can run independently and match the load with generation and supply flows. Along with efforts in balancing, modernisation, rehabilitation and expansion, the government has undertaken.


Bangladesh is a mostly agrarian country of 120 million people situated on the Bay of Bengal in South CentralAsia The country is one of the least developed nations on Ear& with an average income of about $250 peryear, and also one of the fastest growing, with a population that is expected to increaseby 50% (to 180 million) by 2020 (ESCAP, 1996).

Dhaka, the capital city, is one of the fastest growingcities on earth, and is expected to more than double its current population of 9 million by 2020. One sign of Bangladesh’s development is a rapid increase in electric power demand. This demand has increased at an annual rate of about 10% in the past decade, and isexpected to increase by a factor of four between 1990and 2010 .Future growth in power generation capacity is expted to severely lag behind demand growth. Based on the government’s statistics for rated capacity and its announced capacity expansion program, the supply of electricity will begin to fall short of demand by 2000′ Much of the increase in demand for electric power is expected to come fromthe urban areas, already electrified. But over 80% of the population, and 90% of the rural population, does not have a residential electricity connection. Literally millions of rural Bangladeshis will be denied access to electricity in the next 20 years simply becausethere will not be sufficient power capacity to justify the grid expansion program. Why has the power development program in Bangladesh stalled? One reason is inadequate government resources to provide the necessary planning, and another is an inability to raise the necessary capital to finance the large-scale power projects necessary to keep pace with demand.

Ultimately however, the problem lies with energy resources, and thiswill become more and more evident in the fiture. There simply are not suffkient conventional energy resources within the country to sustaina long-term power capacity expansion program. Fossil energy resources in Bangladesh consist primarily of natural gas and a small amount of coal. Domestic oil supply is considered negligible. ucing .Currently over 20 gas wellsare in operation, prodabout 200 billion cubic feet of gas annually from a reserve of somewhere between 10 and 25 trillion cubic feet. Given the expected rate of increase in consumption, this reserve robably represents no more thana 25 year supply of the fuel. As a result of its natural gas endowment, Bangladesh has come to rely heavily on this fuel to spur development. Natural gas is used for three competing purposes in the country: industrial processes (especially fertilizer production), domestic cooking in the larger towns and cities, and generation of electricity. As shown in Figure 2, more than 80% of annual generation is currently produd from natural gas. This consumes about half of the country’s annual production of natural gas.

The reliance on fossil-fuel based electricity generation creates other problems for the country as well. Bangladesh hasbeen successful in recent years in maintaining a neutral balance of payments, but may become a debtor nation unless it can stem its rising fuel import bill. Fossil fuelsaccount for nearly halfof the country’s importsand are the fastest growingitem. Further, Bangladeshis are becoming aware that they should avoid being partyto the world’s fossil fuel “addiction”, since any climate change caused by these fuels will be felt here in a parhcularly acute fashion.


Owner & Regulator

??Power Division, Ministry of Power, Energy & Mineral Resources


??Bangladesh Power Development Board (BPDB)

??Independent Power Producers IPPs)

??Rural Power Company (RPC)


??Bangladesh Power Development Board

??Power Grid Company of Bangladesh Ltd. (PGCB)


??Bangladesh Power Development Board

??Dhaka Electricity Supply Authority (DESA)

??Dhaka Electric Supply Company Ltd. (DESCO)

??Rural Electrification Board through Rural Electric Co-operatives



Peaceful uses of Nuclear Technology were initiated in Bangladesh in early 1960’s under the framework of the then Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC). After independence, Bangladesh became a Member State of the Agency in 1972. Bangladesh Atomic Energy Commission was formed in 1973 by the Presidential Order No. 15 with the goal of utilization of Nuclear Science & Technology for national development.. Nuclear establishment in the country however existed and concerned activities were carried on even before its independence from Pakistan. The Commission was entrusted with the following charter of duties: “Promotion of the peaceful uses of atomic energy in Bangladesh, the discharge of International obligations connected therewith, the undertaking of research, the execution of development projects involving nuclear power stations and matters incidental thereto.” Since then, three decades have elapsed and the Commission pursued various research and development projects, established a number of research and service providing centres with necessary laboratory facilities and equipment, trained working scientists and developed supporting facilities that can be used to meet the fast changing trends of scientific and technological pursuits of the modern world.

BAEC’s overall R&D programs are formulated in two distinct trains, namely (a) problems addressing the needs of national development and (b) basic R&D. Of these, the first group of projects is now being given higher priority. This will also be evident from the fact that vertical linkage of BAEC is provided through the Ministry and the Planning Commission, which ensures that national goals and development targets are featured in its programs and projects.

Over the years, the Agency has been a partner-in-development in most of the leading BAEC institutes. This has meant a continuing relationship with various institutes at Savar and at AECD. Broadly speaking, the program at Savar covers research reactor commissioning and its utilization for isotope production, 1.85 PBq Co-60 irradiator, neutron activation analysis, and neutron radiography. Nuclear analytical facilities, and laboratories for repair and maintenance of nuclear instruments, have been established both at Savar and at AEC, Dhaka. Utilization of Van de Graaff accelerator at AECD was also supported by the Agency. NDT program at AECD and isotope hydrology at Savar, and food preservation, pest control, radiation sterilization of pharmaceuticals, tissue banking and agrochemical residue analysis at the Institute of Food and Radiation Biology, have also been well supported.

The Law on Nuclear Safety and Radiation Control was enacted in 1993. Considering that BAEC is the only national institution that has expertise and trained human resources needed for the enforcement of the law, it was also given nuclear regulatory responsibility. In future, a separate organization will be set up in order to separate promotional responsibilities from the regulatory ones. When this is implemented, it will be possible to attain the required transparency in nuclear safety and radiation control especially in all stages for licensing and inspection of nuclear facilities and radiation sources.

In addition to making excellent use of opportunities under the country TC program, Bangladesh has been an active partner in the Regional Cooperation Agreement (RCA) program. According to a recent review of the Technology Transfer through RCA program, the country participated in different areas of RCA activities. Through the devotion, dedication and hard work of scientists, engineers and technicians, sustained support from the Government, and a judicious combination of IAEA country projects with the RCA program the country has attained a high level of technology transfer. This is a good achievement and reflects the growing maturity of Bangladesh’s nuclear program.


The proposal for building a nuclear power plant in the western zone of the country was first mooted in 1961. Since then a number of feasibility reports had been prepared which established that the plant was technically and economically feasible. The Rooppur site was selected in 1963 and 292 acres (118.3 hectare) of land (105.3 hectare for plant and 13 hectare for residential purposes) was acquired for the project. Physical infrastructures like residential quarters, site office, rest house, internal road, electric sub-station, pump house etc. were established in the project area. The then Pakistan government gave formal approval for 70 MW, 140 MW and 200 MW Nuclear Power Plant (NPP) in 1963, 1966 and 1969, respectively. Following liberation the ECNEC had approved the pp for a 125 MW nuclear power plant in 1980. A number of suppliers had submitted proposals for the project both before and after liberation. However, the project could not be implemented due to several problems with financing as the main obstacle.

Considering the changed circumstances in national and international level the government of Bangladesh expressed its firm commitment to implement the Rooppur nuclear power project (RNPP). It may be mentioned that the inordinate delay in project implementation has brought about a number of changes in the planning process. For example since grid size is growing, it will eventually grow to a size where accommodation of a larger plant of 600 mw with advantage of economy of scale would be required. The growth of the grid to such a size incidentally matches the time needed for implementation of such a plant. Such changes would necessitate updating data, information and some of the past studies.


Nuclear power projects are very complicated and any decision on it, unless taken at an appropriate level of the government, might be rendered ineffective. Continuity of decision over a long time is also an important requirement. In the case of Bangladesh, a Cabinet Committee, chaired by the Head of the Government, has the responsibility to take decision on the project. This Committee includes Ministers and Permanent Secretaries of all relevant Ministries as well as the government agencies related to the project, the Planning Commission of the government and the energy sector in general. It takes all policy decisions based on the information and analyses made available to it. This has also facilitated establishing proper linkages between the macro and micro level planning. A Sub-Committee, headed by the Principal Secretary is also formed to monitor implementation of the decision taken by the Cabinet Committee. The Bangladesh Atomic Energy Commission has been given the responsibility for implementation of the policy decisions.

It is equally important for a developing country to convince relevant foreign governments on the priority of the project, because these are the sources for technology and finance. This may be accomplished through the contacts made at appropriate levels of the foreign government.


The need of early implementation of the Nuclear Power Project at Rooppur in the Western Zone of the country identified in the NEP and also in the last fifth five year plan and also proposed in the 6th five year plan. A supporting project for implementation of the Rooppur Nuclear Power Project was approved by the Government in 1999 to carry out the necessary pre-implementation works identified for the successful implementation of the project. A number of initial activities, such as updating the Site Report and preparation of Site Safety Report of 600 MW(e), promulgation of a Nuclear Power Action Plan, Human Resource Development, preparation of Bid Document, etc. have been initiated to facilitate the implementation of the project. The Government has adopted the National Nuclear Power Action Plan (2001).


A blanket administrative provision is essential to ensure efficient implementation of a government decision on the national nuclear power programme. Its overwhelming role is evident from the wide range of national as well as international agencies, whose concerted participation is essential for the success in realizing the decision effectively. Such a provision is best served through a National Nuclear Action Plan, adopted at the appropriate level of the government. The main purpose of this document is to identify:

  1. Various activities needed for implementation of the nuclear power programme;
  2. The agencies responsible for each of these activities;
  3. Enabling measures like funding, for conducting the activities.

The government of Bangladesh adopted the National Nuclear Action Plan (BNPAP) for meeting the above-mentioned purposes for early implementation of the nuclear power project in the country in 2000.

6. 3-Year Road Map For Power Sector Reform

(2008 – 2010)

Power Sector Reform in Bangladesh


Providing access to affordable and reliable electricity to all citizens by 2020 is a befitting national goal of the Government of Bangladesh (the Government). GOB is currently working with an interim target of providing electricity to 60% of the population by 2010. At present electricity coverage in Bangladesh is only 43% and per capita electricity consumption is about 140 kWh which is one of the lowest in the World.

It is recognized that the pace of power sector development has to be accelerated in order to achieve overall economic development of the country. To upgrade the socio-economic condition and to alleviate poverty, electricity sector has been prioritized by the Government. As power projects are capital intensive, developing adequate generation, transmission and distribution facilities to provide reliable and quality power supply to the population is a challenge for the Government. Therefore, to materialize GOB’s vision, active participation of the private entrepreneurs and power sector reform & restructuring are essential. The performance of Bangladesh power sector in last two decades fell short of expectation of our citizen. High system losses in the sector, large amount of accounts receivable and inadequate tariff have been affecting the financial viability of the utilities and attractiveness for investment. Acute scarcity of resources hinders financing the huge cost required for the development of the sector. Absence of clear organizational goals, adequate financial and commercial autonomy and lack of adequate incentives resulted inefficiency in the utility management. Power sector reform is required not only for performance improvement of the existing utilities but also to cope up with the global change and to create appropriate environment for private sector participation.

Reform Initiatives

The foremost priority in the reform agenda of the Government is to establish a legal framework for enabling business transaction in the new environment. The roles of regulation and operation would be segregated to evolving functional entities according to the structural needs of reformed power sector; Bangladesh Energy Regulatory Commission will be responsible for regulation of the sector. The Government shall, however, issue policy directives on matters concerning electricity including measures necessary for the overall planning and coordination for the development of the electricity sector. Power sector reforms started in late ’70s with the creation of REB. In respect of the reform program following achievements have been made so far:

Rural Electrification Board was created in 1977 Rural electrification program has been successful:

  • 70 Nos. PBSs established
  • Area coverage increased, so far 50,360 villages are electrified.
  • Electricity Supplied to 7.3 million consumers out of country’s 10.4 million consumers in 2007.
  • Significantly positive impact on poverty reduction and social benefits to the rural people.
  • In early nineties, unbundling of the power sector as a part of reform started with the creation of DESA in 1991. However, DESA did not perform well.
  • A high power Inter-ministerial Committee on “Power Sector Reform in Bangladesh”
  • (PSRB) was constituted in 1993. The report of the committee was approved by the Government.

The committee’s recommendations included:

  • Unbundling of the sector according to functional lines
  • Corporatization of sector entities Establishment of an independent Regulatory Commission
  • As a result of implementation of PSRB, the Power Grid Company of Bangladesh Limited (PGCB) and