Power and Energy Crisis of Bangladesh

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Bangladesh is a country that has been exploited by many super powers in the past. 1st it was the British and then stated the Pakistani regime. Continuously oppressed and exploited by these powers the resources of this country were already half exhausted. When Bangladesh emerged on 1971, the country started a new journey towards self sufficiency with whatever left over resources she had. And with those Bangladesh has maintained her pride among the developing countries for more than 40 years. The power and energy sector of Bangladesh may not be strong like other countries but it has been more than enough to provide for the fellow residents and also for exporting abroad. But for how long can Bangladesh maintain this? It has recently been seen that we are facing various types of problems and shortages in the power and energy sector of our country. It has also been predicted that sometime in the near future all the natural resource of the country might as well be exhausted. In this paper we have tried to present a current scenario of the power and energy sector of the country and also tried to project some future figures. We have also tried to provide some solutions to some keys problems that are faced in these sectors.


Dhaka, the capital city of Bangladesh is an ancient city. There is a public saying that Nawab of Dhaka installed a small generator in his residence "Ahsan Monjil" and started generating power at 5pm on 7th of December 1901, which is considered as the introduction of electricity in the then Dhaka city. Later, in and around 1930, M/S. DEVCO, a subsidiary of M/S. Octavians Steel Company, developed electricity distribution system at 400V level under complete private ownership and brought that for public use. Most probably in the year 1933 a power generating station named "Dhanmondi Power House" was established with two 1500 KW generators each and from there the electricity distribution system was started to sale to the public on commercial basis.

After partition of the Indian sub-continent in the year 1947, power generation, transmission and distribution authority in the then East Pakistan region were confined within some private companies. The electricity supply in the 17 districts was limited to the township areas only for a limited time (i.e. for use during night time only) except Dhaka city area. At that time other than some private companies, power was used to be generated by some isolated industries like tea, sugar, textiles and railway workshops. In aggregate, the generation capacity of this region was about 21 MW at that time.

To cope up with the growing power demand of this region, the then Govt. of Pakistan created Electricity Directorate in 1948 to plan and improve power supply. In 1957 the Govt. took over the private owned companies in Dhaka and placed them under the Electricity Directorate for power generation and distribution.

In 1959, East Pakistan Water and Power Development Authority (EPWAPDA) was established to look after generation, transmission, distribution and sale of electricity throughout the province of the then East Pakistan. After the independence of Bangladesh in 1972, Bangladesh Power Development Board (BPDB) was created to look after the same function. Dhaka Electric Supply, headed by a Chief Engineer under BPDB used to control the electricity distribution and sales in Greater Dhaka District area up to September 1991.

To improve services to the consumers and to enhance revenue collection by reducing the prevailing high system loss, Dhaka Electric Supply Authority (DESA) was created by an ordinance promulgated by the President of the Peoples Republic of Bangladesh in 1990. The President of the Govt. of Peoples Republic of Bangladesh ordered for establishment of the Dhaka Electric Supply Authority (DESA) by promulgation of ordinance No. 6 of 1990 on 6th March (Published in the Bangladesh Gazette, Additional issue on 14th March,...