Power Development Board

Power Development Board (PDB) launched in 1959 as an affiliate of the East Pakistan Water and Power Development Authority was created as an independent body in 1972 with its headquarters at Dhaka to control power plants and distribution network throughout Bangladesh. In 2001, it had a total manpower of 28,639. The distribution jurisdiction of PDB covers mainly the urban areas except the metropolitan city of Dhaka, where the distribution of power is vested in Dhaka Electricity Supply Company (desco) and Dhaka Power Distribution Company (dpdc). The rural electrification board (REB) performs this duty in rural areas. All these government owned companies manage over 60% of total retail sale of power to consumers and the remaining sale is managed by the PDB. Several companies under PDB have already started functioning in the country. In the southwest region, West Zone Power Distribution Company (WZPDC) and in the North-west, North-West Power Generation Company Ltd (NWPGCL) are supplying power to the respective command area whereas Ashuganj Power Station Company Ltd (APSCL) and Electricity Generation Company of Bangladesh are generating power for PDB. Power Grid Company of Bangladesh, a subsidiary of PDB is responsible for operation, development, and maintenance of power transmission line. The country's power distribution line was about 209,932 Km, of which 29,176 Km belong to PDB.

The zamindar of Bhawal (Gazipur district) is known to have been the first consumer of electricity in East Bengal. He acquired an electric generator in the 19th century. In Dhaka city, electric light was first introduced on 7 December 1901. Octavia Steel Company, a private enterprise took the overall responsibility of power generation and distribution in Dhaka city. khwaja ahsanullah, the Nawab of Dhaka financed the power project. The power generation capacity of Octavia was very limited and its supply was confined to the city posh area. Only main streets and the nearby residences of elite people were given electric connection. In 1933, another private company DEVCO set up a power station at Paribagh and started generation and distribution of electricity on commercial basis for the common people. The government of East Pakistan took over all private power generation houses and distribution lines in 1957.

In 2009, the per capita electricity generation in Bangladesh was 200 kilowatt per annum, which is one of the lowest in the world. About 47% of its 150 million people have access to electricity. Meanwhile, the government formulated the 'Private Sector Power Generation Policy' and opened the power sector for private investment. Independent Power Producers (IPPs) started selling their production to PDB enhancing the total installed generation capacity in March 2012, to 8005 MW per day. PDB and its subsidiary companies produce 4355 MW and the rest 3650 MW was produced by IPPs (1272 MW) and others. PDB commissioned some new plants in recent years and completed BMRE of some existing plants. On 22 March 2012, PDB generated 6066 MW of power making a record. Maximum generation in 2011 and 2010 per day was 5174 MW and 4698.5 MW on 23 November and 20 August respectively.

In 2009-10 fiscal, the total electricity generation was 25,622 million kilowatt-hours (MKWh). Of the total production, 88.44% was gas-based generation, 1.61% hydro, 3.89% furnace oil based and 4.28% was diesel oil based generation. The number of electricity PDB's consumers in Bangladesh was 2159879 in 2011, of which 42.7% are domestic, 8.17% commercial, 41.02% industrial, 5.61% are agriculture (for irrigation) and 2.5% are others. It was 1922361 at the end of 2009. In 2010-11, the PDB earned revenue of Tk 157.117 million which was Tk 111.241 million in the previous year and Tk 23,862 million in 1999.

The gas resource of Bangladesh, one of the cleanest and efficient fuels for power generation, provides a special window of opportunity to the BPDB and the private investors. PDB undertook some programmes to attain management efficiency for generation, distribution and transmission of power throughout Bangladesh. It formed some limited companies under its ownership to improve performance and these companies are Bangladesh Power Engineering Company for maintenance of power stations, Bangladesh Renewable Energy Company for development of solar energy, Bangladesh Power Services Company to provide supports service and Bangladesh P C Pole Company.

PDB is now implementing the Ghorasal 200-300 Gas Turbine Peaking Power Plant Project, Katakhali Power Plant Project Rajshahi and the Shantahar Power Plant Project. The country's largest hydroelectric power station at Kaptai was extended. Japan, being the single largest development partner of Bangladesh has so far financed 69.42 billion yens to implement 12 development projects in power sector. [Mahbubul Alam]