Bangladesh-India Energy Relations Strain Over Unpaid Dues and Supply Shortages

Last Updated on May 26, 2024 7:07 am

In a developing story that underscores the complexities of regional energy cooperation, Bangladesh’s electricity imports from India’s Tripura State Electricity Corporation Ltd (TSECL) have been reduced due to significant unpaid dues. This reduction highlights the challenges faced by both nations in maintaining stable energy supplies and financial agreements.

Financial Disputes Affect Energy Supply

TSECL, which supplies 160 MW of electricity to Bangladesh, has cut its supply due to unpaid dues exceeding Rs100 crore. The reduction has been ongoing for nearly a year, impacting the reliability of energy imports crucial for Bangladesh’s power grid. Debasish Sarkar, Managing Director of TSECL, emphasized the financial strain on the corporation, which has necessitated these supply adjustments.

Operational Challenges in Tripura

While TSECL cites financial dues as a primary reason for the reduction, other factors are also at play. According to Md Habibur Rahman, Secretary of the Power Division in Bangladesh, Tripura’s overall power generation has declined, limiting its capacity to export electricity. He suggests that internal energy needs in Tripura are a more significant factor than the arrears in the supply disruption.

Impact on Bangladesh’s Power Management

Despite the supply cut from Tripura, Bangladesh’s Power Grid Company (PGCB) manages the situation without major disruptions to load-shedding schedules. PGCB data shows fluctuating daily supplies from TSECL, ranging from 84 MW to 132 MW in recent months. However, officials remain optimistic that resolving financial issues and increasing local generation capacity will stabilize the supply.

Broader Financial Struggles

The issue with TSECL is part of a larger financial challenge facing the Bangladesh Power Development Board (BPDB). The BPDB has struggled with timely payments to various electricity suppliers, including other Indian power companies like Adani Power. This difficulty stems from the disparity between high purchase costs and lower selling prices of electricity, compounded by delays in government subsidies.

Future Prospects and Government Action

To mitigate these financial strains, the Bangladesh government is considering regular adjustments to electricity prices, potentially increasing them every three months. This move aims to align revenue with expenditure more closely, ensuring timely payments to suppliers and maintaining energy imports.

In summary, while unpaid dues to TSECL are a significant factor in the current supply reduction, broader issues within Bangladesh’s energy sector, including financial management and local generation capacities, also play crucial roles. The situation underscores the need for robust financial and operational strategies to ensure stable energy cooperation between Bangladesh and India.

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