The Bangladesh rural electrification program is the most successful program in South Asia and one of the most successful in the world. The program was initiated in 1977 with the creation of the Rural Electrification Board (REB) and several electric cooperative pilot projects. It has led to the establishment of 70 electric distribution cooperative societies that deliver power to more than 45 million people.

NRECA International has served as the primary technical advisor to the rural electrification program and provides technical assistance through funding from USAID and the Department for International Development (DFID) of the United Kingdom.

Currently, USAID contracted the International Resources Group Ltd. to implement Improved Capacity for Energy Access activities in association with NRECA International, who will be responsible for Component one of these projects involving REB and the Palli Bidyut Samities (PBS) rural electric cooperartive/societies. The goal is to promote self-reliance of the PBSs through improved operations, management and governance; enhanced capacity load; and local economic development.

Also ongoing is the Rural Energy Development Program (REDP), a joint initiative between the DFID, USAID and NRECA International. The first and primary task is the overall supervision and monitoring of the DFID funded REDP project to verify that the execution of the project is in accordance with REB standard procedures and to monitor and approve the expenditure of funds. The second task is to assist REB and PBSs in the development and implementation of programs that would help strengthen the PBS concept (based upon the U.S. rural electrification cooperative model) through improved member education and the development of the 70 PBS boards of directors. The final task is an assessment to determine the socio-economic impact of the DFID project funding on the targeted program beneficiaries.

Program Accomplishments

  • 70 electric cooperatives are now operational
  • Approximately 48,700 rural villages have been electrified
  • Over 45 million people in rural areas have electricity service
  • 223,800 km of distribution lines and 426 substations have been constructed
  • Average system loss for all PBSs is 12% and bill collection is over 97 percent
  • Total cumulative program funding of $1.4 billion from 20 donors

Funding Partners