Research Analyst
May 30 - June 5, 2011

An electric generator is a device that converts mechanical energy to electrical energy. A generator forces electrons in the windings to flow through the external electrical circuit. It is somewhat analogous to a water pump, which creates a flow of water but does not create the water inside. The source of mechanical energy may be a turbine steam engine, water falling through a turbine or waterwheel, an internal combustion engine, a wind turbine, a hand crank, compressed air or any other source of mechanical energy. Uninterrupted Power Supply (UPS) contains the battery charger, battery and inverter inside of an enclosure. The battery life is shortened at increased temperature, so it's important to keep the temperature inside the enclosure as low as practically possible. Also, the charging voltage has to be adjusted as a function of the battery temperature. Finally, the battery charger has to function under a wide range of input voltages and protect itself during over voltage or voltage-surge conditions. The battery charger keeps the UPS battery fully charged during normal input-voltage range.


Presently in Pakistan, the sale of generators and UPS has increased manifold as people are going for alternate ways to minimize the impacts of massive unscheduled load shedding. People have started purchasing generators and UPS due to the increased load-shedding. Majority of the wholesalers and retailers are anticipating even a high surge in the demands of UPS and generators in coming months. In some areas of Karachi at least two to three hours of unscheduled load shedding is carried out during night time causing immense problems for the residents.

The price of a small generator used in homes and shops has registered a sharp increase. The demand of the heavy-duty generators, used for running air-conditioners and other high electricity-consuming items, has also increased manifold. However, the sale of UPS has increased and the manufacturers doubled the production to meet the growing demand. The prices also sky rocketed and the manufacturers are selling 50 batteries per month. But since the last 25 days, the sale has doubled. The price for one unit was around Rs5,000 to Rs7,500 last year, which is now available at Rs8,000 to Rs10,000. UPS are in high demand because they could be repaired easily. The batteries need a water change after two to three months of usage, which is economical. Moreover, generators make noise while UPS are noiseless. A powerful UPS setup can simultaneously operate computers, fans and lights.


The energy consumption trends in Pakistan are extremely inefficient, whether it be in the domestic, industrial, trade or commercial sectors. With minimal effort, well over 10 per cent of national electricity can be saved by applying only the first level of energy conservation that is a change in attitude. It is simple, instant and effective and all it requires is carefulness in using energy.

Leaving lights and home appliances on even when they are not used is a common practice in our society. Similarly, many businesses such as shops dealing in cloth and garments, jewelers, cosmetics, home appliances and electronics are usually extravagantly lit. It is commonly observed that shops that could do with two or three 40-watt tube lights to meet the desired level of luminance use as many as 15 to 20 tubes. Not only does this increase power consumption, it also generates heat and makes the environment polluted.

A further economy of 10-15 per cent can be achieved by introducing the second level of energy-conservation practices, especially in industry. Collectively, just through conservation, more than half of the electricity deficit can be reduced. However to do that, public education is essential. With the help of effective electronic and print media campaigns the government can quickly educate the masses.

The second part of the solution is a change in lifestyles. It would begin with the acknowledgement that the country is facing a national disaster and every citizen has to participate to overcome it. The nation has to draw a clear line between necessities and luxuries. There is not enough electricity to meet both requirements. We will have to compromise on luxurious lifestyles in order to meet the necessities. Markets and commercial places can substantially reduce their power consumption by changing their working hours. An early start and early end to capitalize on daylight as much as possible should be recommended rather than having opening hours from afternoon until late at night. Air-conditioning, usually a sign of a luxurious lifestyle, needs to be dropped. Bearing in mind that a typical domestic AC consumes far more electricity in one hour than a fan does over 24 hours, air conditioning should not be allowed except for sensitive applications. Any such policy should be made at the highest level and its implementation should also begin there because charity starts at home. The common man would only be convinced of the looming crisis when he sees the ruling elite practice. The ruling class should lead by example in matters of power conservation. If it does so the common man will follow the suit.


Pakistan now has many trained energy professionals and significant financial resources to develop its energy sector. However, there are many complex energy challenges in the country. Officials seem to have strong potential to solve those problems and a ready willingness to try and use new approaches. Moreover, the standby power generator and UPS are an excellent investment to prevent costly losses during local power failures.