SOME TIPS FOR ENERGY CONSERVATION

M.R. CHAUDHRY
June 09 - 15, 2008

Although the government has planned to adopt some measures to reduce consumption of energy especially power, writers, businessmen and intellectuals have expressed some reservations. The government's plan is to direct all shopping plaza owners to close their shops after 9.00 p.m. from 1st. June. Shopkeepers will be encouraged to close their shops on Friday instead of Sunday. WAPDA has been directed not to supply power to billboards using electric lights besides saving by properly managing street lights. The weekend for government offices will be for two days per week. The government with the support of the World Bank will purchase one million energy saver bulbs of international standard from reputed firms, which will be distribute amongst the masses to promote culture of energy saving.

It will be a healthy practice if in accordance with the decision of the cabinet use of air-conditioner from 8.00 a.m. to 11.00 a.m. in Prime Minister's House, Secretariat, President's House, Governor's House, Chief Ministers' secretariats and other government offices is stopped. Moreover, the government has appreciably appointed a task force to control line losses, however, the performance of the task force

would be really appreciable if and when it gives result oriented performance and if could bring down WAPDA's line losses to a reasonable level within the next quarter.

WAPDA AND KESC

WAPDA and KESC are the main utility organizations supplying electricity. Recently a senior parliamentarian and senator professor Khurshid Ahmad criticized WAPDA and called it a highly inefficient and mismanaged organization with line losses 50 to 60 percent more than internationally acceptable limit. He further identified that the WAPDA officials were misusing 1500 MW of electricity. He called for saving energy and advocated that (when the cost of oil has surpassed all reasonable limits) giving free petrol and other perks to government officials should be stopped. He urged that the government should set an example of austerity for the general public for conservation of energy.

An official of WAPDA (who claims anonymity) advises that WAPDA's officers are entitled to 500 units free electricity per month, however, mostly their houses and bungalows are un-metered or meters installed there are shown defective and they thus are misusing this facility to the extent of around 1300 MW. Another official informs that Pakistan had purchased two mega transformers from Iran, sometime in the year 1996 by spending several millions of rupees, which could be used as mobile grid stations,. One of the two is installed in Islamabad while the second one remained idle for quite some time in Chichoki Mallian ever since its purchase and now the WAPDA authorities are thinking of using it too. The task force must investigate into the reasons for keeping this mobile grid station idle for so long and take the culprits to task for their lethargy and negligence.

Complaints of pilferage of electricity in some areas are not uncommon. Use of "Kunda" system in Karachi and NWFP also reflects the efficiency of WAPDA and KESC.

President Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) Shamim A. Shamsi has vehemently criticized to oppose the closure of markets by Sunday and two-day weekend. According to him : "This is not the solution to energy shortage and also not an effective measure to conserve energy at all". He identified that shopkeeper cannot afford to close down their business at the sunset, which is the time when people are off from their workplaces and customers throng to the market for shopping. The argument seems to carry reasonable weight. Conservation of energy must go on but not by affecting business.

There are various ways and techniques for reducing energy consumption such as efficient lighting, various speed devices, solar hot water system, use of energy saving appliances, high efficient heating, ventilating and air-conditioning (HVAC) systems, efficient building design etc

The scribe has observed that in almost all the big cities and town each and every household has installed a quarter to 2-HP electric motor to substantiate water supply made by WASA and other agencies for ground and upper floors of houses for domestic use. If, in accordance with the old method, a water tank with fairly large capacity is constructed at a suitably high altitude, duly connected with the tube-well, from which water supply is arranged to the area through pipeline net-work, these electric motors would no longer be required. Thus a substantial quantity of electricity could be saved.

There are three sectors which are the major consumers of energy. Each of these sectors is discussed below in the perspective of energy saving.

INDUSTRIAL SECTOR

This sector consumes the largest quantity of energy in the country. Estimated it consumes 45 percent of the total commercial energy produced. Most of the Industrial sector concentration is in a few industrial areas close to or within the large Cities like Karachi, Lahore and other cities and towns comparatively smaller than the aforementioned big cities. It has been observed that industrial units are not energy efficient and their management practices also need a lot of improvement to make efficient use of electricity. A study carried out by ENERCON reveals that well-organized and efficient use of electricity by the industrial sector could bring about 23 percent saving of electricity. The focus in the industrial sector on energy consumption is on the improvement of steam distribution, air-conditioning, refrigeration and modernizing and revamping energy efficient consumption process and controls.

Transport sector: Transport sector is the second largest sector in respect of energy consumption in Pakistan. According to ENERCON's assessment, this sector consumes 28 percent of total national consumption of energy. This could be reduced by 10 percent if car owners alone were to economize on consumption of fuel and if they kept their car engines fully tuned up.

The sector has the potential to be 20 percent energy efficient provided Railways, Shipping and Aviation are included.

One of the apparent and feasible constraints that keeps both industrial and transport sectors away from being energy efficient, is the lack of observing energy conservation rules and regulations, which are already laid down by the government. In this connection the government should not feel itself absolved of its responsibilities after framing and passing necessary rules and regulations - rather it should be more serious in getting these implemented by all concerned.

PUBLIC TRANSPORT TO EASE OUT OIL CONSUMPTION:

About transport, a valid suggestion that was once offered in the print media deserves serious consideration of the authorities. That is that use of public transport within the big cities and towns should be increased and popularized by bringing more and more buses on roads and reducing the use of motor cars to ply within big cities. The running of cars can be minimized by launching an awareness programme by creating patriotic thinking for conserving energy amongst the motorists and elite. The elite class and ruling party can set a healthy example of austerity by using public transport for commoners to follow. If this methodology is adopted in real earnest, it will help to bring about substantial saving of oil, resultantly cutting down the import bill on oil, solving the problem of traffic jamming, and

saving valuable time of our students in reaching schools, colleges and universities, and of government officials and private concerns in attending their offices and reaching their business and work places besides controlling environmental pollution. To achieve that end, only some change of culture is required to switch over from luxurious life style to austerity.

DOMESTIC/HOUSEHOLD SECTOR

The third largest consumer of electricity is domestic/household sector which consumes about 21 percent of electricity produced in the country. According to a study, this sector could be 30 percent efficient by avoiding wasteful habits of consuming energy, for example keeping markets fully illuminated etc. One positive development, which has been noticed is that thissector is shifting, though gradually, to the use of energy savers. Similarly, energy could be saved by minimizing the use of air-conditioners. It is necessary that the entire household should be well aware and cognizant that controlling energy consumption at this odd time is not only our individual responsibility but also a great national responsibility

CONCLUSION

The way to solve the crisis does not lie in side-tracking the issue or taking lopsided measures. It needs straight-forward dealing. Although we can adopt energy saving methods to overcome or reduce the frequency of load-shedding for the time being, it will serve as an interim or short term solution. The real and long term remedy to the problem is to make a whole-hearted endeavour, without wasting a single moment to produce energy and power by using all our tapped and untapped resources including hydro, thermal (coal), nuclear, wind, solar etc. to fully cater to our present and future requirements like any progressive and conscientious nation.