PM's financed power projects from several millions to billions of dollars is in the throes of a nation's fears and hopes in light and darkness as a 180 million nation of old and young, women and children, suffer up to 18 hours of electricity bread downs commonly called as load shedding. PM saw a signing ceremony of financing agreements of US
It is heartening that Sindh Agricultural Growth project would improve the agriculture and livestock sector productivity of Sindh province. The project will use a value chain approach to provide direct investment support to the farmers and small and medium producer groups for (i) development of more effective and efficient farming systems; (ii) introduction of technology packages for increased productivity and value addition; and (iii) improved market access.
Summer season, luckily, may leave a heated nation soon after parts of the country sizzled at high temperatures: The power situation, as expected, had worsened. Electricity shortfall crossed 6,000 MW and is estimated at around 7,000MW with urban areas facing 12 and rural areas up to 18 hours of load shedding.
Officially, the shortfall was only 2,300 MW - generation about 11,000 MW and demand just over 13,000 MW - or only 20 per cent. If the claim is accepted, load shedding should not be more than four hours. But the situation on ground is that there is an average loadshedding of 15 hours, or 60pc, in 24 hours. “If the shortfall is what official figures state, the government needs to fire all chief executives of the distribution companies,” says a former chairman of the
Electricity demand had went up, ranging between 17,000 MW to 20,000 MW in most parts of this hot country, said an official of the
Another reason is that if transmission and dispatch losses are taken out of these 17,000 MW, national contribution to
With that kind of big
Pakistan’s energy crisis has now persisted for a long time. While new and effective plans are hardly devised, the existing projects are also plagued with conventional inefficiencies. Failure of successive governments to adequately address this issue has now made it one of the most pressing concerns nationwide. Not only has the load shedding affected households, but prolonged power outages have also become a menace for the industrial sector, hampering the social and economic growth at large. To reach any reasonable estimates of how long we will have to face this problem, it is essential to look into its various facets and the progress, or the lack thereof, made towards solving it.
Since decades long methods of power generation could not meet national energy requirements, a shift made towards alternative sources of electricity production must be further encouraged. These include very inexpensive methods to generate power like simply from thin air, called wind energy through turbines, in areas where wind blows faster, especially in coastal areas. Free electricity can be made and stored from sun light called solar energy and its highly expensive storage equipment and technology must be researched into so that its price can be affordable for general public.
Hydroelectricity is the second major source of power generation in
However, lack of planning and implementation in building new projects has decreased the share of hydroelectricity in the total generation mix over the years and this situation demands improvement not in verbal but active terms.
Once considered a potential game-changer in Pakistan’s power sector,
However, the storage capacity of Tarbela and Mangla dam has reduced over the years due to siltation and their workable life, without any kind of renovation, cannot be estimated to be too long. Diamer-Bhasha dam is another project that has been in the pipeline for quite some time now, surrounded by its own share of maladies. The multi-billion dollar project is struggling to arrange finances for itself as the
While the primary focus in solving energy crisis should remain on investing in hydroelectricity projects, many previous governments had other things on their priority list. Rather than undertaking projects with long-term benefits, a major chunk of taxpayers’ money was hastily spent on finding immediate solutions. Hydroelectricity projects take years to complete and start production; hence governments opt for easy ways out by investing on sources of thermal power. Power generation through thermal means immensely increases the cost of production. This also explains the exponential increase in the electricity tariffs in recent years.
Thermal sector is now responsible for contributing about 65 per cent of total energy production in
Soon after coming to power, the PML-N government made a payment of
On the other hand, while government’s bailout packages can temporarily resolve the prevailing crisis to a considerable extent, it cannot be considered a long-term remedy. Two of the main reasons that allow the circular debt to occur are the transmission losses and electricity theft. Estimates suggest that around 12 per cent of the power is lost due to poor transmission infrastructure. Similarly, with billions of rupees of outstanding dues, non-recovery of electricity bills is also a major issue. To ensure any form of permanent solution, the government will have to completely revamp the transmission and recovery mechanism.
One leader hoped that the power shortage would decrease in a few days “with the help of God”. That meant rains. And water for dams and to produce electricity. Khawaja Asif’s remarks symbolise government’s complacence and negligence in effectively tackling the power crisis so far.
In an election rally last year,
While the electricity tariff has significantly increased over the past year, the power sector has shown no signs of improvement.
The government now needs to act beyond gimmicks to immediately take effective measures towards increasing power generation. While power shortage has become an endemic undermining the socio-economic growth of the country, it can also become a major political drawback for PML-N. How successfully will the government be able to solve the crisis is a question only time will answer. However, if the nation is taught to take part in solving power generation issues, and actively work in local and small power generation and energy saving projects, and not become careless by assigning solution of all their problems once they voted for their leaders in government, then this power crisis can be resolved in within a shorter time, and other nations have worked hard and proved that a nation can also solve problems, besides its trusted government.
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