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Cash-strapped Bangladesh shuts power plant as heatwave hits

Cash-strapped Bangladesh shut its biggest power plant Monday because it was unable to afford the coal to fuel it, as a sweltering heatwave creates surging electricity demand. The 1,320-megawatt government-run Payra Power Plant in southern Bangladesh had already slashed production last month due to fuel shortages, but it was forced to go a step further on Monday, manager Shah Abdul Mawla said.
“Due to the coal shortage, the plant came to a complete shutdown at 12. 15pm today,” Mawla said. Bangladesh is struggling against a depreciating currency, with foreign exchange reserves slumping from $46 billion in January last year to $30 billion at the end of April thisyear.
The official inflation rate is around 9. 9%, but independent economists say the real figure is substantially higher.
The country has faced nationwide blackouts of up to five hours a day in recent weeks as a heatwave sweeps across the country. Bangladesh recorded a temperature of 41. 1 ° Con Monday, with the government closing primary schools until Thursday.
Power grid company of Bangladesh spokesman ABM Badruddoza Khan said the country had experienced “2,500 MW shortage of electricity in the national grid”, compared to 2,200 MW a day earlier, with daily demand16,000 MW. Minister for power Nasrul Hamid said he hoped tonormalise the situation within 10 to 15 days.

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