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2nd unit of Payra power plant to shut down over coal shortage

05 Jun 2023

The second unit of the Payra 1,320 MW Thermal Power Plant Project is going to shut down by Monday (5 June) due to persisting coal shortage.

Earlier, the first unit of the project closed down on 25 May significantly impacting the electricity supply situation in the southern part and a portion of central Bangladesh.

Not just coal, the shortage of other types of fuel to generate electricity also led to hours-long load shedding in the country amid the ongoing heatwave.   

Nasrul Hamid, state minister of Power Energy and Mineral Resources, on Saturday (3 June)  hoped that the plant would soon be able to supply power again.

"Initiatives to import coal have made some significant progress. Hopefully, Payra would be able to resume power supply from 25 June," he said after inaugurating a Solar Electricity Laboratory and Training Center at Daffodil International University in Savar's Birulia

The two units of the Payra power plant required around 10,000 to 12,000 tonnes of coal to run at full capacity. Bangladesh-China Power Company (PVT) Limited – the owner of the plant, has been importing coal from Indonesia since its inception in 2018.

However, due to the dollar crisis, Bangladesh-China Power Company (PVT) Limited owes $390 million to the suppliers as coal import bills till April.

As the bills have become overdue, the suppliers are refusing to supply more coal to the Bangladesh-China Power Company (PVT) Limited, which has ended up with a plant shutdown.

Meanwhile, amid the scorching heat, the shutdown of this plant has intensified the power shortage in the national grid as the plant used to inject around 1200MW of electricity daily.

People in Barishal, Gopalganj and Dhaka were beneficiaries of the plant. Hence, the shortage of supply left them with hours-long load shedding.

Bangladesh Power Development Board failed to fill in the supply gap with generation from other fuel-based plants due to the same reason.

Shah Abdul Moula, Plant Manager, Payra 1320 MW TPP, however, said that the coal import is in the process as they have made around $90 million payment from the outstanding bills.

"We are hopeful of resuming the plant by 25th to 30th June," he said.

At present, the country goes through a 15,500MW to 16,000MW electricity demand per day, while the maximum supply remains at 13,500 MW to 14,000MW.

Therefore, people and businesses face around 2000MW load shedding several times a day.