Bangladesh has edged close to cent percent electrification, as around 99.5 percent people have already come under electricity coverage, which was only 47 percent in 2009. “Incredible success was achieved in the electricity and power sector as we are supplying power to 99.5 percent of our population,” said State Minister for Power, Energy and Mineral Resources Nasrul Hamid on 20 August 2021.
Since 2009, the country is managed to generate additional 20,293 megawatts of electricity, raising the total output to 25,235 megawatts, he said. “We’re highly optimistic that remaining 0.5 percent population will get electricity by this year,” he added. Nasrul said that the government has undertaken a crash programme in 2016 in line with ‘Sheikh Hasina’s initiative-electricity in every house’ project. Under the project, supply of electricity will have to be ensured to every house by 2021, he said, adding that the project will be completed this year.
According to the latest data of power cell, the power generation capacity of Bangladesh now stands at 25,235 MW, with power connections increasing to 4.07 crore. The number of power plants is now 146. The government is now importing 1,160 MW of electricity from neighbouring India.
Power and Energy experts said that Bangladesh has already been included in the list of countries in South Asia that have brought 100% of people under electricity coverage. According to the World Bank, 100 percent of the people in Sri Lanka, Maldives and mountainous Bhutan have brought all people under electricity coverage in 2019.
Bangladesh Awami League promised to ensure a comprehensive long-term policy on electricity and energy and economic usage of oil, gas, coal, hydropower, wind power and solar energy before national polls. In its promise, big and small power generation units, coal extraction, and oil and gas exploration are supposed to be given priority. The government has already reached electricity to the off-grid population of Sandwip by installing submarine cables under the bottom of the sea.
People of the remote char Ramkantpur of Sujanagar in Pabna are also getting power that has changed their life standards as people there are running small-scale rice mills, poultry farms and electricity-driven vehicles.
According to the World Bank data in 2019, electricity coverage reached 92.2% in Bangladesh, 97.2% in India, 73.9% in Pakistan, and 97.7% in Afghanistan. But, now Bangladesh has brought 99.5% of its population under electricity coverage, while the rest of the people will come under its coverage within this year.
Talking to the media, International Energy Consultant Khondkar Abdus Saleque Sufi said people’s access to power across the country particularly in rural areas has a major positive impact on the agricultural economy. “The use of modern machinery has increased in agricultural production. This has created new avenues of livelihood. However, if electricity becomes affordable and uninterrupted, it will contribute more to economic growth,” he added.
Bangladesh has made significant progress in ensuring people’s access to electricity as the power coverage reached 99.5 percent mainly because of stronger political commitment of the Awami League government led by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, said an energy expert. “Access to quality and reliable electricity is no more a dream as the government has been working round the clock to make Bangladesh a developed one by 2041,” said state minister for energy Nasrul.