ENERGY CRISIS IN PAKISTAN - PROBLEM OF THE PROBLEMS
PROF. SAEED AHMAD SIDDIQUI
Aug 20 - Sep 2, 2012
As healthy body needs the required quantity of blood similarly, energy circulates in the economy's body. Pakistan has terribly failed in controlling the historic energy crisis because the supply of energy could not be increased and its demand not only remained the same but is increasing persistently. In 80s, Pakistan was catering energy need by own self to the extent of 80% but what happened that after 2000 the energy situation became worst possible. The burden of electricity and oil shifted to natural gas. Consequently, the fast depletion of gas reserves is exposing the dark future of energy in Pakistan. In instead of long term planning, the government is busy in firefighting in this behalf. As a result of short sightedness of the government, foreign debt burden is increasing enormously.
The prime causes of energy crisis in Pakistan are poor energy management, operational insufficiencies and line losses. This massive energy crisis is dragging Pakistan towards an unforeseen disaster.
ENERGY SECTOR OF PAKSITAN: The energy sector of Pakistan is undeveloped. Root problem is energy generation which had never been proportionate to the demand for energy. The fuel was added to the fire during Musharraf regime. Planners continued to sing the song of 'all is well' and nobody warned about the ganger in future. Consequently, we are now at the point where no short-run plan can be a success. Apart from increase in energy generation government, during the last two decades, also did not take any measure for stopping the rapid increase in energy consumption. Government is facing the loss of billions due to operational inefficiencies as well as line losses. The gravest problem is the fall in cheapest possible source of energy; hydro-electricity. Hydro-electricity sector has been the victim of seasonal oscillations. Power generation through this cheapest source has been decreased from 6,761 megawatts to 2,414 megawatts due to reduced flow of rivers. This crisis has affected economy, society and country as a whole.
ENERGY SECTOR AND ENERGY CONSUMPTION
Energy consumers in Pakistan include household, industry, services, transport and the government. The main and biggest consumer of energy is the industrial sector which consumes 58% of total consumption of energy followed by transport (20%), households (15) and remaining is consumed by other sectors. The biggest sector hit hard by energy crisis is the industry. The consumption of energy is met by petroleum, natural gas, electricity, coal and liquid gas. Natural gas contributes highest (43.7%) while oil contribution is 29%.
In 2010, per capita energy supply increased by 3.09%. In accordance with the energy requirement of the country, it should be within the range of 15,000 megawatts - 20,000 megawatts per day but present supply is 11,500 megawatts per day creating a short fall of 3,500 megawatts to 8,500 megawatts per day. The same is the cause of all the problems.
The main energy source of Pakistan is non-renewable source which, in fact, is the fossil fuel which is formed in centuries through decomposition of animals and plants. These sources can't be replenished. Fossil fuel is classified into four types; mineral oil, natural gas, coal and liquefied petroleum.
Other type of energy source are renewable which are replenished by nature and can be used again and again for energy production. Renewable sources of energy include water, sunlight, wind, tide and geothermal heat. These sources are clean and sustainable.
The lid energy Pandora Box continues to open persistently in Pakistan caused by utter incompetency, foreign pressures and lack of political will. There are various causes of day-to-day increasing energy crisis like:
a. Demand for energy has been increasing constantly since many past decades due to rapid increase in population growth and electrification of village. In 1990, approximately 60,000 rural areas were provided with electricity connections. In addition to this, growing agricultural and industry and increasing need of transport sector.
b. There has been lack of proactive and integrated planning to bridge negative gap between increasing population and demand for electricity. There is no shortage of non-renewable and renewable resources as well as their sites in Pakistan but unfortunately government has miserably failed to tap these potentials.
c. The main cause of mass and long time load shading of electricity is the high cost of power generation caused by faulty fuel mix. Furnace oil is being used as main fuel for producing thermal power. Electricity generating cost, through use of this method, incurs Rs. 16 per kwh for the government which increases to Rs. 22 to 25 per kwh for consumers. Since this cost is unbearable for the government therefore either the plants are forced to be shut or run under capacity. Power generating companies are not capable to pay this high cost to oil companies. Consequently, high circular debt of Rs. 400 billion has become due on the government. Coming out of this vicious circle of load shading, without paying this debt, would not be possible.
EFFECTS: Energy crisis in Pakistan is affecting all the sectors of the economy due to which quality of life and living standard of Pakistanis is being deteriorated because:
1. Economic sector is being hit hard creating mass unemployment and poverty.
2. Agricultural production is decreasing because tube wells require electricity to run.
3. The main target of this crisis is the industrial sector. Many manufacturing units have been closed and remaining working under capacity.
4. Energy crisis has spread the curse of unemployment converting into various psychological issues coupled with street crimes.
5. Problem of load shading has dragged the people on roads agitating and damaging public properties.
Briefly speaking, energy crisis is a plague which is affecting productivity and growth of different sectors in different ways. This issue is increasing circular debt of the government and creating unrest in the society. Energy crisis is two-fold problem; energy shortage and explosion in demand for it. The government of Pakistan can't exclusively be blamed for this crisis but the people are also the co-sharer. Nonetheless, options are not exhausted. A wide range of policy options is still available which can make the coming generations free from this nightmare of energy crisis.