Research Analyst
May 21 - 27, 2012

With a large population of over 180 million and a rapidly developing economy, Pakistan's energy needs are potentially huge. The country, historically a net energy importer, is confronting serious imminent energy shortages as its economy and population grow while global fossil fuel prices continue their upwards spiral. Thus, Pakistan needs to initiate a sustained, long-term transition towards greater use of renewable energy and abundant resource whose considerable potential the country has yet to tap meaningfully. The government of Pakistan intends to pursue this objective of harnessing power from renewable resources with the full participation and collaboration of the private sector.

Presently, the government has released Rs7 billion to IPPs that would improve the electricity supply in the next coming days. It is expected that the government will disburse another Rs4 billion in coming days against the immediate demand of Rs23 billion made by the power producers. The government has given Rs119 billion subsidy to the power sector so far in the current financial year 2011-2012.

The government had also been giving Rs4 per unit subsidy to the power sector, as the determined average sale tariff of Nepra was Rs10.65 per kWh against the government's notified tariff of Rs6.07. The government has given more than Rs1000 billion subsidy to the power sector over the last four years. Power distribution companies (DISCOs) were unable to collect Rs90 billion from consumers during the outgoing fiscal year. More recently, the government has urged the British power companies to invest in country's energy sector and help Pakistan meet its energy shortfall.


Water and power development authority (Wapda) is fully responsible for the development of hydel power and water sector projects. During July to March 2010-11, the total installed capacity of Wapda stood at 11,439 MW. Out of 14,126 MW of thermal power, 4829 MW was owned by ex- WAPDA Gencos, 323 MW by rental, 665 MW by PAEC and rest by IPPs. During the period, 66,928 GWh of electricity was generated as against 64,935 GWh in the same period last year showing an increase of 3.07 per cent.


Pakistan atomic energy commission (PAEC) has built an extensive infrastructure for contributing to the socioeconomic uplift of the country. It is responsible for planning, construction, and operation of nuclear power plants. Presently, two nuclear power plants Karachi nuclear power plant (K-1) and Chashma nuclear power plant unit-1 & 2 (C-1 and C-2) are in operation. K-1, a pressurized heavy water reactor (PHWR), commissioned at Karachi in 1972, had completed its design life of 30 years in 2002. After necessary refurbishments and up-gradations undertaken by PAEC, K-1 is now operating on 15-years extended life at a power level of 90 MWe. K-1 generated 196.0 million kWh of electricity during July-March 2010-11, raising its lifetime generation to 13.2 billion kWh. C-1. A pressurized light water reactor (PWR) located in Chashma, with a gross capacity of 325 MW, had completed ten years of its safe commercial operation in September 2010. C-1 generated 2063.5 million KWh of electricity during July- March 2010-11, raising its lifetime generation to 21.7 billion kWh. The construction work on the third nuclear power plant C-2 of 340 MW capacity has been completed. C-2 was connected to the national grid for trial operation in March 2011.


Currently, Karachi electric supply company (KESC) provides electricity to over 2.2 million consumers, not only in Karachi but also in the towns of Dhabeji and Gharo in the province of Sindh and Hub, Uthal, Vindhar and Bela in the adjacent province of Balochistan.

During July-March 2010-11, the company's own generation stood at 5,469.8 million units (kWh), only 0.6 per cent less than the previous year generation of 5503.7 million units (KWh) owing to reduced availability of fuel gas. The supply of KESC was supplemented by imports from WAPDA, IPPs' and rentals, which totaled 5,664.7 million units (kWh) during July-March 2010-11 compared to 5,852.1 million units (kWh) in the same period last year. The installed capacity of various generating stations stood at 1,821 MW against 1946 MW during the period under review. The total units available to the company's system posted a decline of 2.1 per cent by reaching 10,714.71 million KWh during July-March 2010- 11 compared to 10,942.64 Million kWh in the corresponding period of last year. Transmission and distribution losses have decreased to 31.2 per cent in July-March 2010-11 from 34.5 per cent. Power purchase by KESC has decreased by 3.2 per cent during the period under review. Recently in 2012, it was pointed out that KESC's generation capacity was 2,450 MW and the people would not have suffered so badly had the power utility been using furnace oil to allow its plants to operate to their optimum capacity.

The company's consumers suffered in the hot weather throughout the day. Residents of Karachi complained that they had been without electricity for more than eight hours. Students appearing in various examinations are badly affected as was the case with the domestic consumers.


Pakistan is going through challenging times in terms of the low economic growth being faced by its economy. The low growth rates can't be converted into higher figures in short term due to the current power shortages in the country. The integrated energy plan should be designed on the premise that coal will be the next dominant indigenous resource in this country's future energy mix, especially for power generation. The persistent outages have resulted in the closure of industry and increasing unemployment due to layoffs, in turn exacerbating the critical law and order situation in the country.