April 15, 2024, 2:53 pm

Abu Taher Bappa:

2024-03-03 11:10:00 BdST

Bangladesh Power Development Board (BPDB) ProcurementComplaints about passing Defective Meter in Technical Evaluation

Bangladesh Power Development Board (BPDB) has been accused of resorting to fraud and major irregularities in the procurement process of smart prepaid meters. BPDB invited tenders to purchase 50 thousand pieces of Single Phase meters per package, a total of 2 lac pieces Single Phase in 4 single packages, and 10 thousand three phase meters in 5 packages a total of 2 lac 10 thousand pieces of prepaid meters. In the 5 tenders, 5 foreign-local companies participated. It has been alleged that a foreign company's meters were found to have serious defects, but the company is being passed in the technical evaluation for the next stage.

These inferior, low-quality prepaid meters are easily tampered with and will not give accurate readings. As a result, BPDB which means the Government will lose a huge amount of revenue. Some unethical officials of BPDB have mysteriously passed the foreign company called Sanxing Ningbo Smart Electric Company Limited. Sanxing Ningbo Smart Electronic Company was found to have violated the tender rejection clauses and adopted various forms of fraud.

The concerned said that several irregularities were seen in the tender evaluation of Sanxng Ningbo Smart Electric Company Limited and their demonstration. BPDB's tender required that the meter should be ultrasonically welded; which was stated in the tender as “ ITT Clause no. 21. 1(q)16 and Section 7.6.2(6). It is said to prevent the unauthorized opening of meter covers. Sanxing Ningbo's meters do not have the necessary protection and sealing, they can be easily opened and after opening there are no signs of opening or cutting from outside.

Those concerned said that this is a major weakness in electricity meters. Because some customers can take this opportunity to open the meter and steal electricity and there will be no way to understand from outside. If such low-quality meters are used at the sites, the revenue of the Bangladesh Power Development Board and the Government will be seriously disrupted.

Sanxing Ningbo committed fraud in the most important component of the meter “Relay”. BPDB's tender requirement was that the relay should be from some famous international brands as per BPDB's demand. However 3 of their 4 sample meters did not have the relay manufacturer's name, country of origin, brand, and specification engraved on the relay which is a clear violation of rules and regulations.

It has been found that after opening the relay of sample meters from other companies, the name of the brand was found engraved on the relay. However, for cheating, this Chinese company called Ningbo Sanxing made a separate case for the relay with KG's name nominally printed on it. Those concerned see it as fraud.

Experts confirmed that their meter relays are not KG relays. They used low-quality sealing and cheap, non-branded relays to make their products cheap. This foreign company has violated some of the necessary conditions that must have resulted in canceling their tender. Several BPDB officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the tender of Ningbo Sanxing should be non-responsive under the Public Procurement Act for violating the rejection clauses.

They also said that Sanxing Ningbo's products would not last long. The government will have to spend money again to change these substandard meters from sites which will take a long time and be a waste of public money. In this waste of resources, electricity users will be deprived of proper services and the image of BPDB and the reputation of the government will be damaged.

The officials, who did not wish to be named, said that BPDB had purchased 15,000 meters from Ningbo Sanxing once before. Every one of those meters had problems. Changing the firmware of each meter and arranging to test them again and again wasted a lot of time. Many complaints are received from sites where the meters are installed from BPDB Sales and Distribution centers. Fed up with the problems, BPDB marginal sales and distribution centers want to avoid this company's meters being installed in their areas to not increase customer suffering.

It was observed that some officials of the purchasing organization during their demonstration recorded videos of the sample meter being easily opened, unscrewed with a normal screwdriver, and the name of the relay coming off with a slight scratch of the fingernail.

Information and recommendations of experienced officers have been ignored and they are being passed through manipulation. Despite having serious hardware issues, they are being passed on for some mysterious reasons.

Many say that Sanxing Ningbo's meters can be called local Zinjira's goods. By using low-quality components, they can supply meters at a low cost. Their chances of getting the tenders are high. Because a big syndicate of the purchasing company has emerged to support the cheap products and potentially winning company. Many people have reported large transactions in this case.
Sanxing Ningbo was not found available for comment.

When The Chairman of Bangladesh Power Development Board is asked about procuring poor quality defective meters by tenders, Engr. Md. Mahbubur Rahman said that some foreign companies have participated in the tenders. If any of them violate the conditions mentioned in the tender, the meter will not be collected from them. The interests of BPDB will be protected.

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