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Power Back on in Bangladesh After Grid Failure

    Power Back on in Bangladesh After Grid Failure
    Last updated: 1 month ago
    Image credit: AP [via The Washington Post]

    Facts

    • Power has been restored across Bangladesh following the failure of the national power grid on Tuesday. The failure - which is still under investigation - plunged most of the country into darkness for nearly seven hours. [1]
    • The outage caused shopping malls and markets to close early or operate by candlelight. Many residents gathered at fuel stations where they could access diesel to run generators. [1]
    • The junior minister for power, energy, and mineral resources, Nasul Hamid, called the failure a "temporary inconvenience" as power transmission ceased in the eastern part of the country, triggering power plants to fail in Dhaka and beyond. [2]
    • Bangladesh has enjoyed substantial economic growth, but the country has been plagued with power shortages since the government shut down all diesel-powered power plants to reduce energy import costs. The recent shortages have impacted the garment industry - forcing factories to go without power for four to ten hours each day. [3]
    • Bangladesh is the second-largest garment exporter after China, which brings in more than 80% of the nation's total foreign currency. The Asian Development Bank has predicted a slowdown in Bangladesh's economic growth due to multiple factors. [3]
    • An investigation into the cause of the failure has been ordered by Hamid. Some government officials have speculated that a Bangladesh link to an Indian transmission line may have failed or that there was an unexpected dip in the supply from India. [4]
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    Spin

    Narrative A

    Patience is needed as Bangladesh rides the global energy disruptions catalyzed by the Russia-Ukraine war. The downstream effects impact developing nations like Bangladesh especially hard. Nonetheless, Dhaka is pressing ahead with purchasing energy fields and planning to deliver power to the nation's rural regions. These efforts will take some time under challenging global conditions - especially as Dhaka tries to maintain economic growth.

    Narrative B

    There is certainly global energy stress, like the Ukraine War, but Bangladesh has long lagged in developing a diversified energy sector, including decreasing reliance on fossil fuels and imports. Dhaka needs to invest in solar power and explore domestic gas reserves if it hopes to be more resilient to global energy shocks and stressors.

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