ELECTRICITY LOAD SHEDDING
S.KAMAL HAYDER KAZMI,
Research Analyst, PAGE
Oct 24 - 30, 2011
Reliable supply of energy is vital for all aspects of modern life. Growing greenhouse gas emissions and global warming are the main reasons behind increasing uses of alternative resources of energy in the developed countries. For the developing regions, particularly those which have been subjected recently to wars and local conflicts, global issues may seem rather unimportant.
Local concerns are more important. For them, rising oil prices is a compelling reason to look for alternative sources of energy.
Unfortunately, energy supply suffers from a chronic shortage. This problem has not been solved so far because of the historical, geographical and political situations in the country. In last few years, we have seen how energy demand has increased in the country. Energy prices have jumped to their highest level and it is probable that prices will continue to rise in the future.
Electricity load shedding in Pakistan has increased manifold. No country can make progress without electricity. Two off days in a week and other energy saving methods have reduced load shedding but not significantly.
Two off days do not suit backward Pakistani nation. Already the government office procedures are dead slow. Protests by load shedding affected people are taking place around the country. People of advanced countries cannot imagine living in such circumstances for a single day.
On an average, the electricity consumption increased at a rate of 5.2 per cent per annum during the period 2001-02 to 2009-10. Overall, the electricity consumption increased by 2.8 percent during July- March 2010-11 against the comparable period last year. The reason for the modest increase in the consumption of electricity indicates some revival in economic activities. Increase of 7.3 per cent was witnessed in industrial sector.
With the exception of agriculture and street lighting sectors, all remaining sectors witnessed a positive growth during July-March 2010-11.
Investors don't want to live in such circumstances. Presently, electricity load-shedding is one of the biggest issues amongst poverty and unemployment.
Government should take drastic measures to end this electricity load-shedding. Pakistani nation is unhappy that government and opposition are busy in leg pulling instead of resolving these primary issues.
Bad policies exacerbated the power woes. One of the causes of load shedding is circular debt, which means the private electricity generation companies keep generating the power but they do not get the money for the electricity they have provided. In that case they lose ability to produce electricity.
The present government seems to intentionally let the circular debts build up and pays outstanding amount when things get worst or adopt stopgap solutions such as rental power plants.
Can this solve the problem in long term? Not at all. The government has to foot the bills owed by the government functionaries to the power sector and then only power issue can be resolved on sustainable basis.
When there are so many natural resources the country is blessed with, then why the government is resorting to rental power production that costs the county the world.
Wind, solar, and hydropower resources can alone ensure energy security of this nation.
All are suffering from electricity load shedding. The rich and middle classes make the alternative arrangements of generators and UPS to save themselves. However, low-income groups or poor that form the majority of the population of this country are living in hell.
ENERGY CONSUMPTION ( JULY-MARCH)
FISCAL YEAR PETROLEUM PRODUCTS TONS (000) GAS (MMCFD) ELECTRICITY (GWH) COAL M.T (000) 2009-10 13,937 959,475 54,653 5,304 2010-11 13,802 939,960 56,194 5,850