Load-Shedding: How This City Tried to Solve That Problem.
Load-Shedding, the deliberate shutdown of electric power in a part or parts of a power-distribution system, generally to prevent the failure of the entire system when the demand strains the capacity of the system.
In Dhaka, we are used to the phenomenon called load-shedding. It’s when you’re sitting under the ceiling fan on a particularly hot day, the soles of your feet burning, hoping the evening will bring rain, or at the very least, a slight breeze … and suddenly the world goes quiet, the lights go out, and the fan’s revolutions slow, then stop.
We look at our watches. Load-shedding, we say to one another, hoping that this instance of it will follow the usual pattern, and that the electricity will come on in exactly an hour. Any longer and we worry the food in the fridge will spoil, or that we’ll miss the end of the Bangladesh-India cricket match on television.
But this year, despite a scorching spring, the hum of electricity has remained constant in Dhaka. There has been no load-shedding. The Eid meat is safe in the freezer. People watched the entire cricket World Cup without a hitch. So what has changed?
Power, of course. This government has done a heroic job of increasing the power output to match demand in a country where industrial and household consumption is running at breakneck speed.
Bangladesh is producing 8,300 megawatts of power this year — that’s an increase of 800 megawatts from last year, and a stunning 4,800 megawatts more than was produced in 2009, the year after the current government was voted in. Our homes, at least in the capital city, enjoy uninterrupted power.