The Bangladesh government has officially decided to import 40 megawatts (MW) of electricity from Nepal, the Dhaka Tribune reported.
A meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs, which was presided over by Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal, on Wednesday, approved a proposal to import the power from the Himalayan nation, according to the news report.
However, the tariff of the Nepali electricity was not disclosed in the meeting as this proposal will be placed next in the meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Government Purchase (CCGP).
Earlier on August 28 this year, Minister of State for Power, Energy and Mineral Resources Nasrul Hamid said that import of hydropower from Nepal was almost final.
There was a plan to import electricity from Nepal before the winter so that in return Bangladesh can get the opportunity to export its surplus electricity to Nepal during peak demand in winter in the Himalayan nation.
Electricity demand decreases during winter in Bangladesh while it increases in Nepal.
According to official sources, after a long discussion at political and bureaucratic levels among the countries, India finally agreed to allow Bangladesh to initially import 40 MW electricity from Nepal through Indian transmission infrastructure.
Sources said the decision to start the import of 40MW power from Nepal was finalized in a two-day meeting of the joint steering committee (JSC) and joint working committee (JWC) on Bangladesh-Nepal power and energy sector cooperation on May 14-15 this year in Patuakhali in Bangladesh.
Ahead of the meeting, Foreign Minister of Nepal Narayan Prakash Saud visited Dhaka and held a meeting with Bangladeshi public and private sector officials where he urged them to invest in the hydropower sector in the Himalayan nation, holding about 60,000MW of clean energy potentials.
Power Cell Director General Mohammad Hossain said that 40MW electricity will be imported through Baharampur-Bheramara transmission lines which have enough capacity to import electricity from Nepal through Indian territory.
Sources said under the planned arrangement, Bangladesh will import electricity from Nepal through an Indian company as a service provider which will first import electricity from Nepal through Indian transmission line and then sell it to Bangladesh.
They said Bangladesh and Nepal prefer a tripartite or regional agreement while India wants bilateral deal in this regard.
Currently, Bangladesh is importing electricity from India through a similar arrangement where the Indian company NTPC Vidyut Vyapar Nigam (NVVN) is selling power to BPDB.
In case of electricity trade between Dhaka and Kathmandu, Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) will have to sign agreements with both NVVN and BPDB.
Apart from the 40MW import plan, Bangladesh wants to import 500MW of hydroelectricity from Nepal via Indian company GMR.
Officials said Bangladesh and Nepal are still pursuing India to sign the tripartite deal to facilitate the sub-regional power trade among the three nations.