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      June 01, 2013


Energy crises and its alternative

Given Pakistan`s resources, size and population, it should have been among the developed countries of the world. We have been bestowed with mountains, plains, desert, sea, rivers, lakes, diversified/major agricultural produce, minerals, oil, gas and last but not the least, the best of educated and skilled workforce.

However, a lack of uninterrupted supply of electricity has landed this country into chaos. This is compounded by a lack of co-ordination and communication among the various ministries, agencies and the private sector.

The way the issue is being handled appears as if we are solving an arithmetical problem of balancing the current supply and demand situation. While there is a lot of talk about rental power, it is a short term solution which will only add to the financial burden of the consumer, not to mention how it will retard industrial growth.

Measures like closing shops early, closing offices and banks on Saturdays, advancing the clock, using energy saver bulbs, switching off AC`s, even advising students to go to bed early may provide some relief, but these are not viable sustainable solutions to the problem.

A consolidated well-coordinated energy plan ought to be made and implemented on a crash program basis with defined ownerships and accountability. There is a need to recognize the fact that without a dramatic turnaround, the power situation is bound to get worst in the coming years. The cost of inaction is getting dearer with the passage of time in terms of social and human development implications, political instability and an enhanced security risk.

Indigenous coal reserves offer a long-term solution as an option but not much has happened to have it expedited. This alone can meet the country`s current and future needs for many decades to come.

The Alternative Energy Development Board has not presented any viable solutions to the electricity issue though it has existed for a good many years.

A tremendous amount of potential exists – sun, wind, bio-mass – that can possibly meet energy needs. Nuclear power can offer clean energy with no addition in the offing.

Energy conservation should be made a priority and various methodologies should be employed by identifying energy efficient technologies, specific to various industries ensuring implementation.

Tackling inefficiencies in power generation, transmission and distribution is vital as it can improve the situation significantly. This can be updated at a nominal cost compared to the cost of generation projects. Power theft, meter tampering and illegal `kunda` connections should be checked.

Small hydel units need to be developed as these are more beneficial than larger dams.

Emmad Ahmed
Nazimabad No#4 Karachi

Load shedding crisis

The market place is filled more with darkness and less with people. The fan is stagnant for most of the hours of the day even though there are people at home. Yes sir, I am talking about load shedding-the problem which has been deteriorating the standard of living of Pakistanis. In the past load shedding was considered as planned power cut off due to power shortage and it used to occur very infrequently but now it has become a daily routine; every now and then power is turned off for hours. The citizens can't even predict the restoration timings of electricity.

The saying “when it rains, it pours” perfectly fits here because the weather is also very hot these days. The poor Pakistanis are left to suffer in this hot weather under the scorching heat of sun with no electricity. I do understand that we cannot do anything about the “weather” but we can do something to fight this power shortage. There are many cures; we just need to raise this issue and have to take it to the government. More dams should be built, more investment should be done on nuclear power plants or something else should be done to fight this power shortage as soon as possible. The citizens of Pakistan are in great need of help and this is why I am writing this to you voice that need.

Yousha haque
Gulshan-e-Iqbal, Karachi.


THE energy crisis is deepening as summer sets in. It threatens to redouble the problems of the government, already faced with the curbing terrorism and reviving a fragile economy.

Owing to frequent disruptions of electricity and gas supply to both domestic and commercial consumers, the government is facing a tremendous pressure from both the public and industry demanding stoppage of frequent blackouts.

The government adopted short-term steps cutting electricity consumption, two days off, turning off lights and cool machines in government offices, closure of shopping centres by 8pm and partial diversion of gas from industries to power-generating companies to overcome energy crisis.

Although through these measures the government disturbed the social life of the people and left the industrial sector moribund, it still could not achieve the desired goal.

Power cuts also courted violent protests across the country when the government resorted to unscheduled loadsheddings that stretched to 20 hours a day in rural areas and weighed on urban areas.

In winter, gas demand grows by 8.5 per cent annually, even as consumer and businesses will suffer from shortfall of around one billion cubic feet which cripples the lives of people and retards the output of industrial sector.

According to the document of the ministry of water and power televised on different news channels, the electricity demand in the country is expected to go up by about eight per cent annually, which would be 36000 MW by 2015.

Despite having the 4th largest coal reserves, Pakistan has to face such devastating electricity shortfalls. Electricity consumption outpaces production that can be met by producing electricity from a mixture of alternative resources coal, wind, solar and nuclear energy.

Countries having coal reserves produce more than 50 per cent of their electricity; unfortunately Pakistan does not use five per cent of its coal for energy purpose!

Irregularities in rental/independent power plants, connivance of Wapda employees in electricity theft and lack of awareness among people for economical use of electricity and gas are the factors contributing to energy and gas shortfalls.

The deteriorating law and order situation across the country has also been a major hurdle in attracting foreign investments in the energy sector, compelling the government to think importing expensive gas from Iran and Tajikistan. Long-term stringent policies, with a rigorous campaign regarding creating awareness in the light of Energy Conservation, are essential for bridging up the yawning gap of electricity and gas shortfalls to avoid further weakness of economy.

Kanza Tasneem



mail @ chitraltimes@gmail.com

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