Bangladeshis are in the habit of blaming the government always for the failure to supply more energy to them. But little do they realize or like to realize that they hold in their own hands a great deal of powers to improve energy supply on a sustainable basis.
Thus, in millions of homes across the country and in the capital city sights are too common in middle and upper class families where domestic aids or even housewives are seen keeping their gas burners flaming long past the cooking time or after all needs for keeping the burners switched on have ended.
This habit is more pronounced in shanty dwellings with gas connections. There the system is several gas burners serving a number of families on a sort of community sharing basis. The gas burners are not put out there and keep on burning gas throughout the day and the night. None in the shanties would think of lighting an extra match stick to rekindle a burner after it has been put out.
They think of saving the cost of a matchstick when, ironically, they think nothing of many millions of Taka worth of a natural resource– which is too precious for the national economy– they are helping to waste on a daily basis from their most uncaring mentality . But think about how it would be if these people had really cared. In that event, the situation from lack of gas pressure which makes many housewives miserable in preparing their daily meals, such conditions could ease with gas pressure rising from an end to misuse of gas.
The authorities could seek to prevent the misuse by implementing prepaid meter system for gas use, everywhere, and making it mandatory to use such a gas burner which is turned on only when there is something on it and turned off when it is removed from the burner. This burner was invented by a college student and displayed in a science fair about 10 years ago. Unfortunately, no government has tried to popularize the use of such burners.
In Bangladesh, some 5,700 industries consume nearly 1020 mcf of gas per day. Out of the consumption, 95 per cent are fed by their boilers. A government survey during the last caretaker government found that gas-fed boilers in different industries under Titas Gas Transmission and Distribution Company Ltd. franchise areas consume 20 to 30 per cent extra gas due to their inefficiency and wrong operation.
The study said that the thermal efficiency of gas-run boilers in different industrial units was 62-72 per cent, which could be raised to 80-85 per cent through upgrading. If even one per cent efficiency of the industrial boilers can be raised, 95 million cubic feet (mcf) of gas will be saved per month which would contribute very substantially in reducing the current deficit in the availability of gas in relation to demand.
The low pressure of gas continues to be a major problem for both industrial and household users. The low pressure has been hampering production in many types of gas based industries; specially the quality of their output is suffering due to this. Housewives remain in dire straits in many places from not being able to cook properly from the low pressure.
But all of these things could be a thing of the past if there was no dilly dallying with plans made long ago to set up three pipeline compressor stations on the gas distribution lines. The installation of the compressor stations after cleaning the lines, will likely fully overcome the problems associated with low pressure of gas and pave the way for its efficient utilization. But this vital project has been stagnating very regrettably without a push given to it as a high priority one.
Like the gas, power is similarly misused. In hundreds of thousands of homes in Dhaka city, the residents of such homes are found most insensitive about turning off electrical switches after power needs have been met. High power lights, fans and electrical appliances remain switched on notwithstanding that some of these can be kept switched off when users leave homes for outside activities or there are no needs to keep them in such turned on positions.
In many cases, these customers of power do not care about the consumption costs because they have underhand deals with meter readers or others so that they receive bills stating limited consumption despite their actually consuming a much higher amount than what are stated in the bills.
They may not care but the sufferers for their lack of care are millions of others who get poorly supplied with power as a result of their carefree consumption. Not only private individuals, government itself can be grossly irresponsible for such misuse. In different parts of Dhaka, street lights remain turned on at high noon. This awful spectacle was focused in cable television that showed how the electrical lights were fully turned on in the area in and around the Jatiya Sangshad in the day time.