Dhaka Power Distribution Company Ltd (DPDC) is supplying power to the most part of Dhaka city and the entire city of Narayanganj.
Engineer Bikash Dewan, the incumbent managing director of DPDC, has made elaborate plans to turn this company into modernization and profitable institution.
In an exclusive interview with Aminur Rahman, the editor of energynewsbd.com, he said in details on how DPDC can be transformed into a better company by providing more dynamic and better services to the consumers.
energynewsbd.com: What were the challenges before you after joining the Dhaka Power Distribution Company?
Bikash Dewan: The DPDC which was originated from the defunct Dhaka Electricity Distribution Authority (DESA) started its commercial operations on July 1, 2008. DPDC began its journey with many liabilities of DESA. DESA was in trouble with many problems, including corruption.
The DESA might not be run by a good leadership. If a company is operated by a well planning taken from the top level, then naturally, nobody at the lower level dares to commit corruption or mischief. In this case, my target is to turn this company into a profitable, service-oriented, and reputable institution. And for this, I am constantly motivating my colleagues. During the DESA period, system loss was more than 20 percent, now it is eight percent.
The main purpose of DPDC is to provide services. Electricity service is more important than any other service. It is a great challenge to inspire officers and employees to provide services. The company should also be profitable along with providing services. That`s why we are trying to move forward with various planning.
energynewsbd.com: A complaint is heard that customers are not getting reliable and uninterrupted power services. How much improvement has been made in this situation?
Bikash Dewan: I always like to hear any kind of complaints of customers. I have joined seven months back. After joining, many people complained that electricity is not getting exactly as well. Now, I do not hear this kind of complaints from them. Because, the complain management system has been dynamic. Our team is quickly settling it soon after customers complain over phone or in writing to Network Operation and Customer Services (NOCs). There are a total of 36 NOCs and no delay is made in the settlement of complaints. I myself supervised many complaints settlement. It is my belief that I am gaining customers’ confidence gradually.
energynewsbd.com: What steps have been taken to give new power connections to customers fast?
Bikash Dewan: New connections are given to the residential customers within seven days and the general industry within 28 days. But there is no hesitation to say that customers of large industry are a little late to get it. Because the capability of the sub-station from where the subscriber to take the power, and the RAJUK`s new rules, the occupancy certificate (the building or its part is recognized as commercial space) and relevant documents are required to be submitted.
As per government guidelines, it is mandatory for customers to install solar panels for allocation of more than two kilowatt loads. However, customers are given a quick connection if they apply following due rules.
energynewsbd.com: Have you taken any plan to modernize distribution lines along with the existing sub-station?
Bikash Dewan: The plan has been made to transform all overhead lines into underground lines to upgrade the electricity distribution lines like the developed world such as China`s Shanghai or Tokyo City of Japan. Accidents took place more in the overhead line. Besides, many lines become worn-out and many complexities are created, for example, there are problems in the line shortly after a storm-rains and the power supply is disrupted.
The underground lines will not have such problems and electricity can be supplied like a developed world. Apart from this, the beauty of the city will also increase. And due to the lack of space in the Dhaka city, to construct the new sub-station at the load centre has become difficult. For this, it has been decided to build an underground sub-station in the Karwan Bazar area of Dhaka under JICA funding in the first phase. However, initiatives have been taken to reform the sub-station facing overload or problem.
energynewsbd.com: How do you think the pre-paid meter system is working successfully?
Bikash Dewan: Pre-paid meter system has been introduced as part of its commitment to build a Digital Bangladesh under the leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. Prepaid meter is hassle-free. This is a cost effective method for the customers. And there are many benefits for the company. The bill paper does not need to be supplied and the advance bill is available. Customers can use the power according to their own decision.
There were some problems early in the prepaid meter card recharge. Now there is no problem rather it has become easier. Customers can recharge prepaid meter cards like recharge the money through mobile phones. In addition to the bank and its own vending station, the agreement has already been signed with the Grameenphone company in this regard. Deal will be made with several other phone companies soon. Number of vending stations has been increased for recharging.
The opportunity is opened to recharge through banks and online. The total subscriber of DPDC is now at around 11.50 lakh. Meanwhile, 2.3 lakh consumers came under the pre-paid meter from postpaid. Plan was taken to bring 3 lakh consumers under the pre-paid meter by June this year and more 8 lakh by the next financial year. By 2020, all customers of DPDC will be brought under the prepaid meters.
energynewsbd.com: Will there be shortage of supply due to the demand of electricity in the coming summer?
Bikash Dewan: It is true that the demand for electricity in the summer will increase. But we will be able to deal with the problem successfully through constant supervision and proper management. For this, new sub stations have been constructed and the constructions of several sub-stations are going on. The lines with overloaded transformers are being changed or replaced with new ones. Hopefully, this will not be a problem anymore.
energynewsbd.com: What are the initiatives you have taken so far to create power saving awareness among consumers?
Bikash Dewan: Some steps have already taken to create energy saving customers. DPDC officials, employees are encouraging customers to be power-saving. Consumers are being encouraged to use low energy consumption electronics such as air conditioners, refrigerators, fans, lights. If the industry and commercial customers are aware of their power use, the use of the power will be greatly reduced. Such initiatives are being taken to implement this.