Dhaka Electric Supply Company Limited

The electricity supply industry in South Asia started with the commissioning of the first power station in the 1890s. Although a number on small stations were constructed over the next 20 years, these stations were isolated, catering to small distribution networks serving the major urban centers.

The first effort to structure a legal framework for the industry came in 1910 with the enactment of the Indian Electricity Act, 1910. This Act sought to regulate the business of industry still based on the old concept of isolated privately owned distribution networks fed by small generation stations & essentially defined the rights & obligations of the supplier and the consumer.

In 1947, at the time of independence of India & Pakistan, the installed generating capacity in the then East Pakistan was only 21 MW. Electricity was available to only a small elite in the district and sub-divisional headquarters. The distribution networks in these cities were isolated and were fed by coal fired steam power plants or diesel generation. In an effort to expeditiously augment generation capacity to feed a development economy, the then Government of Pakistan issued and ordinance in 1959 creating the East Pakistan Water and Power Development Authority (EWAPDA). The Ordinance essentially provided for the Governments takeover of all generation, Transmission and distribution facilities from the private sector, thereby creating a total Government monopoly in the sector. During 1960 to 1970 the generation capacity of the then East Pakistan rose from 88MW to 475 MW, supplied largely by natural gas and oil fired, steam power and hydro plants. The networks of Dhaka and Chittagong and then been interconnected albeit with weak 132 KV links.

Shortly after the creation of an independent Bangladesh, in 1972, the first Government of Bangladesh, in an effort to speed up the investment in the sector issued an Ordinance creating the Bangladesh Power Development Board (BPDB) as the successor organization of the power side of EWAPDA. The Ordinance recognized the divergence of energy related issues in development. During 1972 to 1995, BPDB has increased the generating capacity in the country to 2818 MW, and the length of its 230 and 132 KV transmission networks to 419 KM and 2469 KM. For the first time in December 1982, the eastern and western halves of the country were electrically connected through the commissioning of double circuit 230 KV transmission line across the Jamuna riever energized at 132 KV between Ishurdi and Tongi called the first East-West Interconnector. Generation sources were diversified to include a 230 MW hydropower station at Kaptai on the Karnaphuli river and natural gas and imported fuel based, open and combined cycle power plants at different locations of Eastern and Western part of the country. The distribution networks of all major towns and cities had been linked through 230 KV and 132 KV inter-ties.

In order to intensify the pace of rural electrification, the Government issued as ordinance in 1977 establishing the Rural Electrification Board (REB), a semi-autonomous agency charged with the responsibility of planning, developing, financing and construction of rural distribution networks, promoting the establishment of Rural Electric Cooperatives (Palli Bidyut Samities), handing over the constructed rural networks to them, assisting the PBSs to operate and maintain the rural networks and monitoring their financial performance. The REB has so far constructed over 46,000 Km of distribution lines and provided over 950,000 consumers connections in the rural areas (As on June, 95).

In 1990, another ordinance was issued, which was subsequently enacted as an Act transferring the 132 kv, 33 kv Transmission and distribution system in the Greater Dhaka Area including the Metropolitan City to a newly created Government agency called the Dhaka Electric supply Authority (DESA). This was done to lessen the administrative burden on BPDB,s management by relieving it of the burden of managing about 50 percent of the energy distribution in the entire country.