Initial history of electricity in Bangladesh
It is a tale of about a century and a quarter ago. The king of Bhawal of Gazipur of the then East Bengal (presently Bangladesh) under British India is known as the first user of electricity in East Bengal. He illuminated his palace with the electricity using a generator imported from England in the nineteenth century. This royal and fancy initiative was a big surprise to the people of Bhawal who were far away from the modern civilization.
After that in 1901 a generator was installed at the residence of Mr. Ahsanullah, the Nawab of Dhaka. In 7th December, 1901 Mr. Bolton, a British citizen inaugurated electrification of Ahsan Manzil by pressing an electric switch. A company named Octavious Still, gradually brought a few elite buildings including the Ahsan Manzil and some important roads of Dhaka under electrification by the financial help of Nawab Ahsanullah. As the company's power generation capacity was limited, the power supply was also confined to only some posh areas.
In 1919, ‘DEVCO’ a British company introduced the commercial power distribution system within a limited area of Dhaka. Later in 1933, the company built “Dhanmondi Power House” with the generation capacity of about 06 MW at Paribag in Dhaka and started to distribute power commercially. Residents of the elite society of the city were the consumers of this electricity. The use of this costly electricity added a new feather in the crown of their aristocracy.
Spillway of Karnaphuli Hydro Power Plant
Bangladesh Power Development Board (BPDB)
At the time of partition of Indo-pak sub-continent in the year 1947, power generation and distribution of this part of the country were in the hands of some private companies. The power supply to the then 17 provincial districts was within the township in a limited range. The generation voltage was 400 volts. Power used to be supplied to most of the districts during nighttime only. Only exception was Dhaka City where power used to be supplied by two 1500 kW generators and the generation voltage was 6600 volts and this was the highest supply voltage. There was no long distance transmission line. Besides, power used to be generated by some industries (tea, sugar and textiles) and railway workshops. Dhakeswari Cotton Mills, Pahartali Railway workshop, Saidpur Railway workshop and Sugar Mills were amongst them. In aggregate the generation capacity of the country was only 21 MW and there was no transmission system.
In 1948, Electricity Directorate was created in order to plan and improve power supply situation. In 1957, the government acquired all private power houses and transmission lines. In 1959, Water and Power Development Authority (WAPDA) was created and the power sector really started working satisfactorily. In 1960, Electricity Directorate was merged with WAPDA. At that time several power plants were built at Siddhirganj, Chittagong and Khulna. Among those, Siddhirganj 10 MW steam turbine power plant was the highest capacity power plant. Three steam turbine units each of 10 MW capacity were installed here successively. At that time, this power plant played an important role to fulfill the demand of electricity of Dhaka. At the same time Kaptai dam was under construction under Irrigation department. In 1962, Karnaphuli hydro power plant started generation of electricity from its two units of 40 MW capacity each by using the potential energy of water of the 300-square miles lake artificially created by building a dam in Karnafuli river. At that time Kaptai was considered to be the largest power plant of the country. Side by side construction of 273 kilometer long Kaptai-Siddhirganj 132 KV transmission line was completed and the both power stations (Siddhirganj and Kaptai) were brought under same grid. Construction of Kaptai dam and commissioning of Kaptai-Siddhirganj (Dhaka-Chittagong) 132 KV transmission line in the year 1962 are considered as milestones of power development of this country.
In 1972, after the emergence of Bangladesh as an independent country through a bloody War of Liberation, Bangladesh Power Development Board (BPDB) was created as a statutory body to boost the power sector. BPDB was established on May 1, 1972 by the Presidential Order No. 59 bifurcating erstwhile Bangladesh Water and Power Development Authority. BPDB was formed as an integrated utility with responsibility of power generation, transmission and distribution. It started operation with only 500 MW installed capacity.
Later as part of reform and restructuring, BPDB’s transmission and some part of generation and distribution was handed over to some other organizations such as Rural Electrification Board (REB), Dhaka Power Distribution Company (DPDC) Ltd., Dhaka Electric Supply Company (DESCO) Ltd., Power Grid Company of Bangladesh (PGCB) Ltd., Ashuganj Power Station Company Ltd. (APSCL), Electricity Generation Company of Bangladesh (EGCB) Ltd., West Zone Power Distribution Company (WZPDC) Ltd., North West Power Generation Company (NWPGC) Ltd., Northern Electricity Supply Company (NESCO) Ltd., Rural Power Company Ltd. (RPCL) etc.
Now BPDB is engaged in purchasing power as a single buyer from IPPs, SIPPs, Rentals and Government own generation companies and sale, power generation and power distribution in urban areas of the country except the operational area of Rural Electrification Board (REB), Dhaka Power Distribution Company (DPDC) Ltd., Dhaka Electric Supply Company (DESCO) Ltd., West Zone Power Distribution Company (WZPDC) Ltd. and Northern Electricity Supply Company (NESCO) Ltd.
Ghorashal 365 MW Combined Cycle Power Plant (Unit 7)
As on september-2019, total installed capacity including Captive Power & Renewable is (19,195+2,800+334) =22,329 MW. Out of Grid Capacity 18,969MW (Public Sector 9,507 MW, Private Sector 8,528 MW & Power Import 1,160 MW) of Power Plants located at different parts of the country. The main fuel used for power generation is indigenous gas. In Fy-2017-2018 Total 62,678 GWh electricity was generated (Public sector power plant 31,083 GWh, Private Sector Power Plants 26,812 GWh and Power import 4,783 GWh) . The maximum demand served during peak hours is 12,893 MW in 29 May, 2019. The transmission network is about 11,500 ckt km long comprising 400, 230, 132 and 66 KV lines. The total grid sub-stations capacity is about 37,000 MVA as on November-2018.
In FY 2018-19, BPDB had about 16,007 employees of which 982 were of supervisory level (holding positions of Sub-Assistant Engineer or higher or equivalent ) as on 10/10/2018.
Engineer Md Mahbubur Rahman
B.Sc. Engg. (BUET)
M.Sc. Engg. (Norway), MBA
Chairman (Grade-1), BPDB
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